That Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry returned to practice Wednesday after finishing treatments for Hodgkin's lymphoma is amazing on its own.

Even more amazing: instead of shedding weight and muscle mass, Berry came out of chemotherapy one pound heavier.

Yes, you read that correctly. Berry took IVs after chemotherapy treatments in order to allow him to work out along the way, keeping his focus on his football career throughout the eight-month ordeal.


As tough as Berry is on the field, he might have just proven himself tougher off of it. Tackling Hodgkin's lymphoma while working out beats any of the Pro Bowl safety's football-related accomplishments.

"I'd first like to start off by saying, thank God, man ... my support system just took care of me," Berry said at a press conference Wednesday, flanked by his parents. "The two things I could control is my attitude and my effort. You can't look too far ahead."

It's unclear whether Berry can participate in full football activities, which would give him a chance to play his first game since December in Week 1.

Still, his teammates were happy to see him back.


Regardless of when he'll suit up next, seeing Berry on the field and a pound heavier is a win in itself.

His journey has been long and winding, but Michael Sam is finally set to make his pro football debut.

In Canada, at least.

After failing to latch on to an NFL roster and then briefly leaving his Canadian Football League club for "personal reasons," Sam is poised to play in his first non-exhibition football game since college, according to the Associated Press.

The former Missouri star "is getting so much closer to being able to play," according to Montreal Alouettes coach Tom Higgins. "He wants to go, and I think it's going to happen sooner than later."

Sam, however, was not made available for comment.

Since coming back to the team at the end of June, Sam has been working to get himself back in shape and ready to contribute to the team.

The club has not set a date for his debut, but the team plays five games in August, and it's likely he returns at some point during that span, possibly as early as this Saturday.

If and when he does step onto the field, Sam will make history as the first openly gay professional football player at that level. Prior to this season, he signed a two-year deal in Montreal.

But that's merely a consolation prize to a man who has repeatedly stated his desire to play in the NFL.

Despite performing well in preseason last year for the St. Louis Rams, Sam was cut before the regular season began. He joined the Dallas Cowboys as a member of its practice squad but was released prior to the end of the 2014 season.

Sam is hopeful that a strong performance in the CFL could open doors to an NFL career.

He'll be playing his first game in almost a year when he does step onto the field, so fans and reporters will be eager to see how he measures up after a long absence.

At his press conference ahead of this week's Quicken Loans National event, PGA Tour pro Billy Hurley III revealed that his father has gone missing without a trace, and the family is seeking the public's help to find him.

"Last Sunday -- nine days ago -- my dad took some clothes, he took some cash, he got in his truck and he drove away, and no one has heard from his since," said an emotional Hurley.


Hurley said his father has sound mental health, but that the family has no indication for why he might have left so suddenly.

His father was a police officer for 25 years in the same town where he currently lives, and where Billy Hurley was raised.

"[My parents] still live in the house that I grew up in in Leesburg (Virginia) and I'm just hoping that there’s a story that maybe he goes to PGATour.com to check my tee time or check my score, and sees this and understands that, Dad, we love you and we want you to come home," Hurley said.

Hurley did not take any questions following the announcement. He said he does plan to play in the tournament later this week, which is being played close to his hometown.

For Joe Haden, it's a personal issue. The Cleveland Browns cornerback grew up with a younger brother who suffers from language and speech difficulties.

As Haden tells ESPN's Steve Wulf, "He's just a really cool kid, a blessing to me and my family. I play for him, and I would do anything for him."

That's why Haden became involved with the Special Olympics as a Global Ambassador, and it's why he's involved with the awareness initiative "Spread The Word To End The Word" -- a campaign to end use of the "R-word" when discussing disabled individuals.

A cornerstone of the "Spread The Word" initiative is its emphasis on youth leadership -- empowering those leaders to call out offensive language and hold their peers accountable for their treatment of all classmates, including their disabled peers.

It's a problem that hasn't been scrubbed from the sports world. Twice since 2011, LeBron James has used the R-word in interviews with media.

Haden, who now plays in the same city as LeBron, is aware of the comments -- but believes they were learning experiences for the NBA star.

"Besides, there are other lessons to learn," Haden tells ESPN. "I would encourage him, or anyone, to go to a Special Olympics event.

"That's where you'll see the pure joy of competition, a joy we should all remember, no matter how big we get."

Portland Trail Blazer star Damian Lillard is also a Global Ambassador, and last year he called out a Twitter troll for mocking a Special Olympics competitor:

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When Javorius Allen heard about the blockbuster movie The Blind Side, he had one thought: It sounded a lot like his own life story.

That was a big moment for a kid who suffered through long stretches of poverty and homelessness as a kid, all while trying to avoid gangs and other elements that threatened to compromise his future.

As Ryan Mink explains on BaltimoreRavens.com, The Blind Side taught Allen that his story wasn't unique. This spring, he was drafted into the NFL by the Baltimore Ravens -- the same team that once featured Michael Oher, the protagonist of the book and movie.

Oher left the team after the 2013 season, but his story was well known to Ravens fans. Now Allen, a running back from USC, serves as a reminder of the pipeline to salvation that football can serve for athletes growing up amid poverty and trouble.

Growing up in a country town north of Tallahassee, Florida, Allen worked hard just to stay alive. He took his first job at 7, tending to pigs on a farm for $10 a day.

"A country town has a lot of sad stories," Allen told Mink. "A lot of people that were great –- better than me –- had potential to do big things. But they were just hanging around the wrong people."

The son of a mother who started having kids when she was 14, Allen was partially raised by her grandmother. Allen considers that decision to be the best one she ever made.

But even with grandma, life was hard. The front door leaked water and, occasionally, snakes. A hole in the bathroom reached all the way to the dirt below, and roaches could be heard running around when the power went out.

Allen's life changed when he was 12, and his oldest brother was convicted for attempted murder. That landed the future football player with the local Carrie Wilson Boys & Girls club, where he met the club's director, Mickey Cullen.

"You could tell he was a good kid right off the bat," Cullen told Mink. "He was well mannered, raised well by his grandma, very smart. I saw a lot of good qualities in him."

Allen shared with Cullen his desire to play football, and Cullen began driving him 40 minutes to practice. As Allen continued to play football, he spent more time at the Cullens' sprawling property, and when he entered high school, he and the Cullens decided he would become a permanent member of the family.

Allen wound up losing his grandma, Alice, while he was playing football at USC. He scrawled her name on tape placed over his wrists and kissed the tape after every touchdown.

Then, after rushing for 2,274 yards for the Trojans, Allen became the 125th pick of the 2015 NFL draft. He's also bringing to the NFL a college degree, becoming the first person in his family to earn such an achievement.

"Obviously we were proud of him being drafted and his football stuff, but graduating from college was a bigger deal than the NFL," Cullen says. "He was a really good kid. He was a good young man. Now he's growing up into being a good man."

Marcedes Lewis didn't have a ton of opportunities as a child in California. Coming from a mother who had him when she was 15, the Jaguars tight end saw an opportunity to impact local youth by giving them an outlet he never had: A free football camp. It's a place where the kids can connect with positive role models. As his annual camp enters his seventh year, Lewis discusses the importance of serving his community.

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Frank Thomas, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame last summer in his first year of eligibility, remains active in the game as an analyst with Fox and a representative for Gillette, a longtime MLB sponsor. Thomas played the majority of his 19-year career with the White Sox, and he finished with a career batting average of .301, plus 521 home runs and an OPS of .974. The PostGame caught up with Thomas on his way to Cincinnati for this year's MLB All-Star festivities.

***

ThePostGame: How has retirement been treating you?
FRANK THOMAS: It's good. I'm glad to be out here seeing the home run derby and hanging out with Gillette.

TPG: Can you give me some details of how that is going?
THOMAS: I'm happy to be out here with Gillette. For me, it was really easy to partner up with them since I've been using their products for over 20 years now. I'm getting fresh, new razors every day in the Gillette Shave Club. A lot of people don't realize just how cheap these razors can be. I mean, I can hold on to a Gillette razor for a month and be fine. Come hang out with me and Gillette at the Home Run Derby this year. ... We will be back at the Gillette Grooming Lounge.

TPG: Who had the best beard game back when you were playing?
THOMAS: Best beard/facial hair definitely goes to Goose Gossage. That guy had the chops. I liked his the most.

TPG: Everyone remembers the 519-footer you knocked out of Three Rivers Stadium back in '94. How do you remember it?
THOMAS: It felt like a breakout party. I remember telling my coaches and trying to show people that I could hit those kinds of balls. I knew I could hit one 500 feet and not come unglued. So when I hit that, I felt like people finally knew.

TPG: Did you have a favorite visiting ballpark to hit at?
THOMAS: There was always something about hitting there that I liked.

TPG: How do you like the set-up for the new home run derby?
THOMAS: For the most part I like it. I don't like the added time for distance. I don't like the idea of guys hitting for distance to get more time rather than trying to hit as many home runs as possible. Because that's why you are out there. Not for distance.

TPG: Being one of the most impactful DHs in history, how do you feel about the DH tag in baseball?
THOMAS: I never accepted the DH tag because I won two MVPs as a first baseman for the White Sox. So to me that tag was never really important but I did use it during the middle of my career.

TPG: How was your relationship/rivalry with Ken Griffey Jr.?
THOMAS: It was a friendly rivalry. A friendly rivalry. Griffey had this natural transition into the game learning from his father because his father was still playing for Seattle back then. But we respected each other and definitely had a little rivalry going.

TPG: I saw a clip of him teasing you at an All-Star Game, did that happen often?
THOMAS: Yeah, we used to mess around a ton. It was a friendly rivalry so yeah, he would tease me here and there.

TPG: How do you feel about Barry Bonds being kept out of the Hall of Fame?
THOMAS: You know, it’s tough, man. He made his bed and now he has to lie in it. He's one of the best players of all time. But he made the decision to take those actions late in his career and now they're affecting him. But it's tough.

TPG: Who would you add to the Hall of Fame?
THOMAS: Well there's a ton of guys. But right now the two guys that I feel need to be in are Mike Mussina and Tim Raines. I think they deserve to be in there.

TPG: Any good stories from "Mr. Baseball" and working with Tom Selleck?
THOMAS: Well, at the time Tom was big movie star but he really did care about the game. He was a quality guy who wanted to emulate the game and made sure it didn’t look bad. He made sure to get in the cages so he didn't embarrass baseball and could make it real.

TPG: Who's going to win this year’s home run derby and who is the best home run hitter in the league right now?
THOMAS: Hooo, well. There's guys like Albert Pujols who have the experience doing this before. A guy like Pujols can come out and knock a ton out of the park, so you gotta watch for him. But at the same time you have to be watching for guys like Prince Fielder. He could win it too.

TPG: Are you allowed at public batting cages?
THOMAS: Nope. Too dangerous. (Laughs).

Pat Tillman's alma mater has unveiled new practice jerseys that serve as an homage to the fallen war hero.

Before he left his NFL career to become a member of the elite Army Rangers, Tillman was a standout linebacker for Arizona State. Through a new partnership with Adidas, the school has created camouflage-themed practice jerseys that pay tribute to Tillman, who in 1997 was named the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year.


Tillman was famous for abandoning a successful NFL career to join the military after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He became an elite member of the armed forces, serving with the Rangers. He was killed in battle in Afghanistan in 2004, which was later revealed to be the result of friendly fire.

Tillman posthumously received the Silver Star and the Purple Heart. Jon Krakauer wrote a book, "Where Men Win Glory," about the government's efforts to cover-up Tillman's cause of death.

The special practice jerseys are just the latest of several honors bestowed on Tillman from the sports world. Arizona State previously named the locker room walkway into Sun Devil Stadium as the "Pat Tillman Memorial Tunnel."

The NFL's Arizona Cardinals also erected a statue of Tillman outside their stadium in 2006.

Here's a cool bit nugget of trivia about Andrew Wiggins and Justise Winslow. Each of their dads once had Hakeem Olajuwon as a teammate. Mitchell Wiggins played with Olajuwon in the NBA on the Houston Rockets. Rickie Winslow was part of the Houston Cougars' Phi Slama Jama team that went to the Final Four with Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. Check out more of the conversation between Wiggins, the reigning NBA rookie of the year, and Winslow, a projected first-round pick in the 2015 NBA draft:

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For Matt Stoltz, the 700-mile ride from Houston to Kansas City is treacherous. It is the middle of June, which means heat and humidity, and Stoltz is making the trip alone. On a bicycle.

"You pitch a tent, bundle up, crawl in and wake up in the morning and do it all again,” he says.

After eight days, Stoltz could see his final destination, Kauffman Stadium, on the horizon as he rode toward the outskirts of town. The nights alone, the heat, even that one night the tent flooded -- it all felt worth it now.

He had made it to ballpark No. 11.

“Biking to the stadium is always one of my favorite days," Stoltz says. "Once you see it on the skyline, the adrenaline kind of takes over and you realize ballpark No. 11 is right there and you cruise on in and take the ballpark in."

Kansas City was just another stop on Stoltz’s 11,000-mile, six-month journey from Seattle to Milwaukee, where he will attend a game in all 30 Major League Baseball parks. He's doing it for Biking for Baseball, a non-profit organization that helps youth mentoring programs across the country.

Stoltz said his goal is to raise $100,000 for Biking for Baseball and he's determined to reach that number.

"If I tell someone I'm going to do something, I'm going to find a way to make it happen," Stoltz says. "I don't like to go back on my word."

Stoltz, 22, graduated Wisconsin with a degree in community and nonprofit leadership in the winter, a semester early, to begin training for the trip. He also wasn’t ready for the work force, so he decided to chase his dreams instead.

"When I thought of this idea of biking to all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums, as a baseball fan, it was on my bucket list to make it to all 30," he says. "So doing it by bike was a challenge that I just couldn’t pass up."

Growing up in Wisconsin Rapids, a small town in the center of the state, Stoltz and his family fell in love with the game of baseball and the Milwaukee Brewers.

He began playing soccer and baseball as a child and realized the value of his mentors, including coaches and teachers. He wanted to help those in need, so he'd bike to the Boys & Girls Club every day of his summer, trying to be a mentor to children in his hometown.

"The relationships that he formed working with kids kind of just set up a positive environment and he enjoyed it so much he kept coming back for more," Stoltz's brother, Dan, says. "… He found something he really loved and kept up with it and kept going with it."

By 2012, Stoltz was ready to do something bigger for children. He completed a bike ride from his home to Florida that year, helping to raise money to buy sports equipment for children in developing countries.

At the same time, a group of four men, led by Rex Roberts and Adam Kremers rode across the country, watching games in all 30 MLB parks along the way. The ride was the first in the history of Biking for Baseball, which Roberts and Kremers helped established in 2011.

"We started having the conversation of how to combine the things that we love and the seed of an idea got started," Roberts said. "Over the next couple years, we started talking about it enough and it grew to the point where it was carrying enough momentum where people were afraid to say no and back out of it."

Roberts, now executive director of Biking for Baseball, and his team’s ride caught the attention of Stoltz and the idea remained in his head through the spring of 2014, while he was studying abroad in Kenya. He was in the midst of one journey and already thinking about another.

"I definitely have that adventurous personality," Stoltz says. "I have my bucket list and I kind of get to it and I don’t want it to get too dusty. I keep crossing things off.”

He was trying to plan his trip when he tweeted at Biking for Baseball to ask for advice. The more questions Stoltz had for Roberts and his team, the more they were interested in sponsoring his run.

By October 2014, Roberts told Stoltz that Biking for Baseball wanted to sponsor him and they began mapping the journey. It was set to start April 6 and end October 3, and Stoltz began training immediately.

Stoltz’s trip started in Seattle with more 900 miles separating him from his next stop in San Francisco. He made it to the first checkpoint and relief set in.

"You get to San Francisco and you look at a map and think, ‘Man, I just rode all of that,'" Stoltz says. "I had all of this pain, but I overcame it. When you look back and see how far you've ridden, it's kind of rewarding in that sense, but at the same time, you have so many miles left."

Then it was on to Oakland, then San Diego, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver, Dallas and Houston. He'd take days off only to watch the game, and bike out of town the next morning.

Stoltz says he is enjoying his trip, which has spanned more than 5,000 miles to this point. The trek from St. Louis to Miami, where he’ll have to bike an average of 100 miles per day for almost a month, is his toughest test, but one for which he is prepared.

"It's definitely in the back of my mind," Stoltz says. "That stretch has been circled on my calendar. It’s going to challenging, but the support of people who I’ve met and people who I haven’t even met who are really backing the trip, it really helps. This month is going to be the one that pushes me to my limits, but I’m up for the challenge."

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