The Kansas City Chiefs offered a moment of silence for victims of domestic violence at Sunday’s game against Carolina but did not memoralize linebacker Jovan Belcher publicly, The Kansas City Star reported.
Belcher fatally shot his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, on Saturday morning at their home in Kansas City and then drove to the team’s training facility and killed himself with a gunshot after speaking with team officials, including coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli. Just one day after the tragedy, the Chiefs banded together to play their finest game of the season, an inspired 27-21 victory over the Carolina Panthers that ended an eight-game losing streak suddenly rendered trivial.
Belcher attended the University of Maine, where he played football from 2005-2008 and was a first-team All-American as a senior before he graduated in 2009.
There were no decals or patches on the players’ uniforms. Chiefs players gathered in the tunnel leading to the field for a brief prayer before their pregame stretching. A few fans in the half-empty stadium held up signs referencing the shootings.
Quarterback Brady Quinn said the Chiefs were struggling to come to grips with the surreal scene Saturday.
“It’s hard to say a whole lot,” Quinn told The Star. “Unfortunately, I was on Denver when Kenny McKinley took his life [in 2010], and there’s really not any words that can describe the emotions that are involved.
“The big thing is his [three-month-old] daughter. I know a bunch of the guys are going to try to set up a fund to try to take care of his daughter. Her parents are not in her life anymore.”
Team members were left wondering what might have been done to help Belcher or whether there were any warning signs.
“It’s hard mostly because I keep thinking about what I could have done to stop this,” Quinn said. “I think everyone is wondering whether we would have done something to prevent this from happening.”
Quinn described an emotional scene when Crennel addressed the team with news of the deaths.
“It was obviously tough for coach to have to tell us that,” Quinn said. “He really wasn’t able to finish talking to us. We got together and prayed and then we moved on.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.