It came as no surprise that Eric Berry would win the Pro Football Writers Association of America Comeback Player of the Year award.
The Kansas City Chiefs safety battled back from Hodgkin's Lymphoma last year, and missed the last month of the season after a cancerous mass was found in his chest.
Through his faith and long hours of rehab and training alone with chemotherapy, Berry was back on the field this season. He picked up where he left off and dominated on defense as he lead the Chiefs into the playoffs.
Battling back from adversity is something that athletes teaches us.
Just look at last year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Kyle Busch, who battled back from adversity to win his first Series title.
He sustained a devastating season-opening injury at the Daytona 500 but refused to let that stop him.
Many had counted Busch out after missing several races but he took home the championship by being the top finisher among the Championship 4 drivers in the last race of the season in November.
These are just a couple examples of athletes that refuse to say no. When the going was tough, they just rolled up their sleeves and went to work.
In the end, they would show the perseverance that athletics is suppose to bring out in us.
It comes as no surprise to me that Berry was able to get back on the field and pick up where he left off before the illness.
During his four-year career at Creekside High in Fairburn, I was privileged enough to cover Berry.
What made him special besides the God-given talent was the way he worked on and off the field to use it.
As good as he was athletically, Berry was likable because he was so humble and very coachable. He was the kind of athlete that would make the sacrifice to help the team to win.
A defensive back by trade, Berry also played quarterback on the high school level. He was good enough to play it on the college level if he wanted to.
Berry was the state player of the year following a senior year he led Creekside to a 12-1 record and trip to the Class AAAA quarterfinals. A bad ankle sprain had Berry at less than 100 percent as the Seminoles loss at Marist.
Some players might have opt not to play in a game with a bad leg injury, but nothing was going to keep Berry off the field.
He was going to do what it took to help his team win.
Locally, we look at the job that Chapel Hill junior pitcher Ashley Morgan did this season with a torn ACL injury.
Despite the injury, she pitched a a third of the last part of the season and was dominate to help lead the Panthers to a state title.
It is the athletes that go beyond the call of duty that usually succeed the most.
Salute to those athletes that are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice.