The truth hit Eric Berry like Eric Berry used to hit receivers.
It had been 264 days since his cancer diagnosis. Yet there he was, buckling himself in on the team plane, free of a disease that claims so many lives.
"I broke down on the plane on the way out here," Berry admitted after the game. "It is just a blessing to be out here."
Preseason games don't mean anything in the win-loss column. Saturday night's game meant the world to Berry, his teammates, NFL players, and cancer-fighters everywhere.
Berry played just six snaps at his old safety spot. He inspired hope in every single one of them.
"I've been running into a lot of people that don't even know about football telling me that their cousin has been diagnosed with cancer or their mom or aunt," he said. "They just tell me that they have hope because they see me out on the field, and that means a lot to me."
Berry has another shot at a normal, healthy life. And that life is defined by so much more than NFL stardom now.