Two Former Vols Named to NFL's All-Decade List

Jake Nichols

For Tennessee fans, few names in Vols football history are more impactful than that of Eric Berry. 

Originally out of Creekside High School (Fairburn, GA), Berry made an immediate name for himself at Tennessee. He was a two-time All-American and was also recognized as the top defensive back in the country. 

For Vols fans, two special memories of Berry may be his jarring tackle of former Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno, as well as Berry’s 99-yard interception return against Tim Tebow and Florida in The Swamp.

After starring for Tennessee, Berry has made waves in the NFL after being drafted by Kansas City in 2010. He’s earned five Pro Bowl appearances, been named First-Team All-Pro three times and, now, landed on the NFL’s All-Decade list at safety, even after battling leukemia. 

That’s quite a résumé for the former Vol. But Berry isn’t the only VFL on the list, either.

Cordarrelle Patterson made the league’s All-Decade list as a specialist, and for good reason. 

Patterson has bounced around the NFL, from Minnesota to Oakland to New England and, now, to Chicago. 

No matter where he’s playing, though, No. 84 has been sure to light up kickoffs. His longest kickoff return for a score came in 2013 with 109 yards. 

That same year, Patterson also became the first NFL player to have a 100-yard kickoff return touchdown, 75-yard touchdown catch and a 50-yard touchdown catch in the same year. 

He also has a Super Bowl victory with New England, three Pro Bowl appearances and three second-team All-Pro honors.

Before being drafted by Minnesota in 2013, though, Patterson also lit up the field for Tennessee, even if just for one season. Then more of a wide receiver, Patterson exploded in the Vols’ first game of the 2012 season, a 35-21 win over North Carolina State.

His six receptions for 93 yards, as well as 72 rushing yards and a touchdown, propelled Patterson to several more outstanding performances before he declared for the NFL Draft the following January.

All in all, Berry and Patterson both made incredible impacts at Tennessee. Granted, Berry’s was more long-lasting, but Patterson’s effect was certainly one Tennessee fans can look back on, too.