Berry played cornerback and quarterback, earning a 37-5 record as a starter at Creekside. He was teammates with Rokevious Watkins and Terrance Parks. Following his stellar high school career, Berry was invited to play in the 2007 U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Berry was considered the top player in Georgia and the top cornerback prospect by every recruiting service, and Rivals.com ranked him the #3 player in the nation. He was once clocked at 4.38-4.41 range at the 40-yard dash at a soft indoor surface at a high school Combine.
As a freshman, Berry replaced fifth year senior Jarod Parrish after a strong showing in his first collegiate game against California. Berry turned in several big plays during his freshman season en route to being named the SEC Defensive Freshman of the Year by the Sporting News. His 222 return yards (on five interceptions) broke the 37-year-old Tennessee record by 43 yards. Berry led all SEC freshmen in tackles with 86. He twice was named SEC Freshman of the Week for his play over the regular season's final three games. After the season, he was also named 1st team Freshman All-American by Rivals.
Prior to the season, despite being a sophomore, Berry was named a team captain.
For the year, Berry tied for the national lead in interceptions with 7 and returned them for 265 yards and 2 touchdowns, breaking the record he set the year earlier. Combined with the yards he accumulated as a Freshman, Berry set the all-time career SEC record for interception return yards with 487 yards, only 14 yards shy of the NCAA record for interception return yards, set by Terrell Buckley during his time at Florida State. He also finished the regular season with 72 tackles, 6 pass break-ups and 3 sacks.
Berry also took snaps on offense at quarterback and wide receiver, gaining 44 rushing yards on 7 carries. In addition, he gained 32 yards on 2 kick-off returns.
Berry was named the SEC Defensive Player of the year and was a first-team All-SEC pick. He was also a unanimous first-team All American. The Touchdown Club of Columbus also named him their winner of the 2008 Jack Tatum Award as well.
Following his junior season in 2009, Berry was a first-team All-SEC selection, and was recognized as a unanimous first-team All-American for the second consecutive season. He won the Jim Thorpe Award and also was the recipient of The Touchdown Club of Columbus's Jack Tatum Award for the second straight year.
He would forgo his last year of eligibility at the University of Tennessee and enter the NFL draft.
The Kansas City Chiefs selected Berry with the fifth overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft, making him the highest drafted defensive back since Taylor, and the highest drafted Tennessee Volunteer since Jamal Lewis. Berry selected number 29 as his jersey number in honor of former Tennessee defensive back standout Inky Johnson, whose career was cut short due to an injury and also as a tribute to his hometown Fairburn, Georgia, and the main road U.S. Route 29.
In his first season, Berry started all 16 games and became the first Chiefs rookie to be selected to the Pro Bowl since linebacker great Derrick Thomas. Berry had a big impact on the team's defense, helping to improve it from 29th best unit in 2009 in terms of points allowed to 11th in 2010, In addition to starting every game, Berry was on the field for almost half of Kansas City's special teams plays and was the only Chiefs defender to play every defensive snap.
He led the team in interceptions (4), and was second only to Derrick Johnson in tackles (92) and solo tackles(77). On December 26, 2010, Berry scored his first NFL touchdown on a 54-yard interception return against the Tennessee Titans. In his first playoff game, he recorded a career-high in solo tackles with 9 and passes defended with 4.
On September 11, 2011, Berry suffered a torn ACL, and was placed on injured reserve on September 14, ending his season. Berry had surgery on September 29, 2011, and returned for the start of the 2012 NFL season. Berry has been named to three Pro Bowls, in 2010, 2012 and 2013.
During a loss against the Oakland Raiders on November 20, 2014, Berry began to complain of chest pain. A mass was soon discovered in his chest, with him eventually being diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma on December 8, 2014. Berry was placed on the Chiefs' non-football illness list, ending his season. Berry's doctor, Dr. Christopher Flowers, a lymphoma specialist at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, said of Berry's diagnosis, "This is a diagnosis that is very treatable and potentially curable with standard chemotherapy approaches. The goal of Mr. Berry's treatment is to cure his lymphoma and we are beginning that treatment now."
On July 28, 2015, the Chiefs announced through their official Twitter account that Berry had been cleared to resume football activities after he was declared clear of cancer nearly nine months after his initial diagnosis. Eric Berry returned to the field gradually, but earned back his starting job and had a phenomenal season. He was selected to another Pro Bowl as the starting safety and many experts and coaches around the league remarked that he was the best safety in the entire NFL. He was named Comeback Player of the Year, as he helped the Chiefs to an 11-5 record and Wild Card berth, after overcoming Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
Berry's father, James, played running back for the University of Tennessee from 1978 to 1981, and was a captain of the 1981 squad. Berry's younger brothers, twins Elliott and Evan, currently play football at Tennessee. Berry is the first cousin once removed of former All-Pro Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Hugh Green.
Berry suffers from equinophobia, a fear of horses, frequently brought on by the Kansas City Chiefs' mascot, Warpaint. The fear was brought on after a traumatizing childhood event at a petting zoo where a horse bit him while his back was turned.