KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There have been checkpoints every step of Eric Berry’s comeback from cancer, mile markers that have told him that he not only conquered lymphoma but just might be better than ever.

There were small ones early – the ability to do a single push-up during the energy-sapping rigors of chemotherapy. But there were much bigger ones later: running out of the tunnel and onto that brilliant green turf of Arrowhead Stadium for the Kansas City Chiefs’ season opener.

Berry reached another big one this week when he was voted to his fourth Pro Bowl.

“It’s one of those checkpoints,” he acknowledged, “but right now I feel like I have more stuff to focus on. It’s good and everything, but right now I’m just focused on something different.”

Like not being able to make that trip to Hawaii.

Berry’s elite play at the back end of Kansas City’s relentless defense is a big reason the Chiefs (9-5) have won eight straight games and gotten back into playoff contention. And with wins Sunday over Cleveland and next week against Oakland, the Chiefs could still capture the AFC West, giving them a home playoff game as they begin their quest for the Super Bowl.

That would be the biggest milestone in Berry’s storybook comeback.

Not that he’s ever considered any other outcomes.

Berry said he “brainwashed myself from the get-go” that he was going to return from cancer, even in the days and weeks immediately after his diagnosis. His hair fell out during treatments and some days it was a chore just to get out of bed. But visits from teammates such as Justin Houston kept his spirits up, and the opportunity to help the Chiefs win a Super Bowl kept him going.

He was deemed cancer-free in June, about seven months after the cancer was discovered. He was back in training camp by the time rookies arrived in July. And he made his return to the field in Arizona for a preseason game, ensuring he would be back for the start of the regular season.

But being back is one thing. Being back at a Pro Bowl level is something else entirely.

“The thing I focus on is just getting better every week,” Berry said. “Probably after the season I’ll look at the total body of work. Right now I just want to keep getting better, keep getting better every day I step on the field or in the meeting room, and just try to keep striving for greatness.”

That day-at-a-time approach served him well during treatment. It has also served him well on the field, where the former first-round pick has become the consummate team leader.

Berry is often the last player out of the tunnel for warmups. He’s the one who breaks down the Chiefs’ pregame huddle. It is his voice that energizes one off the league’s best defenses.

“He was so driven that you kind of had a feeling he was going to get there, crazy as that sounds,” Chiefs Coach Andy Reid said. “When you look back on it, and now that it’s real, what a great story. “