Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Kansas City Chiefs try to cope day after player's murder-suicide

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Ryan Lilja's eyes welled as he recalled the emotions in the Chiefs locker room moments after Sunday's 27-21 win over the Panthers.

The victory came a day after linebacker Jovan Belcher murdered his girlfriend — police said he shot her nine times at their apartment in front of his mother, the New York Post reported — and later committed suicide at the team's training facility in front of coach Romeo Crennel, GM Scott Pioli and defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs.

"It was different," said Lilja, an offensive lineman and nine-year veteran. "There were emotions that guys aren't used to feeling after wins or losses. Guys were confused. … A lot of hugs, a lot of tears and a lot of guys saying, 'I love you' and meaning it."

Many players' eyes were moist with tears as they talked about how difficult it was to deal with the loss of a teammate and anger over Belcher, 25, murdering Kasandra Perkins, 22, with whom he had a 3-month-old daughter, Zoey.

Tackle Eric Winston said the day probably was hardest on running back Jamaal Charles, whose wife was a cousin of Perkins'. Belcher and Perkins met through Charles, said Brianne York, a friend of Perkins'.

Winston said he told Charles before the game, on behalf of the offensive line, "We're going to go carry you." Charles had 127 yards.

Charles was not available to the media after the game.

"I feel for Jamaal more than anybody," Winston said. "(Perkins) was family to him. … I'm sure he has some conflicting emotions, much more and much deeper, and much more vigorous than we have."

Crennel said he did not want to discuss seeing Belcher kill himself. "Hopefully you'll respect my wishes on that because it wasn't a pretty sight," he said. Pioli and Gibbs did not speak to reporters.

Crennel knew he had to be strong for his players, especially after it was decided in a meeting with the team's six captains Saturday the game would be played. "I'm even-keeled, and I felt that I would be able to handle it," he said, adding "everybody was on board" with the decision to play.

Players had discussed setting up a trust fund for Zoey. But, Winston said, "we can toss all the money we want at it, but that's not going to bring her parents back."

Belcher and Perkins briefly lived apart but had gotten back together by Thanksgiving, York said. The couple had argued about "normal couple stuff," and Perkins had gone to visit her family in Texas after Halloween, York said. Perkins also briefly stayed with Charles' wife.

The root of their arguments was that "sometimes (Belcher) would just be down in his man cave or whatever" and Perkins wanted more family time, York said. "They ended up wanting to try to work it out, and the next time I went over and visited, she told me everything was good … so I thought everything was fine."

Kansas City police spokesman Darin Snapp reiterated the couple had argued recently but couldn't provide details. Reports said the couple argued after Perkins went to a concert Friday night, then out with friends and got home around 1 a.m. Saturday.

Kansas City Chiefs try to cope day after player's murder-suicide 12/02/12 [Last modified: Monday, December 3, 2012 12:48am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Road to Atlanta: Tell us how you really feel, Jimbo

    College

    Topped out

    TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 21:  Rashaan Evans #32 of the Alabama Crimson Tide tackles Jarrett Guarantano #2 of the Tennessee Volunteers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 21, 2017 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) 775042495
  2. Journal: USF gets support on the road

    College

    NEW ORLEANS — Perhaps it was the chance to witness the first USF-Tulane game ever, or an opportunity to frolic in the French Quarter for a weekend. Or both.

    USF running back D'Ernest Johnson (2) stiff-arms Tulane cornerback Parry Nickerson (17) on a run during the second half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH111
  3. Joey Knight's takeaways from USF-Tulane

    College

    1. Saturday's triumph will do little to fortify USF's strength of schedule, but its strength-of-character quotient might have increased. On the road facing an eclectic offense, the Bulls built a huge lead, then made critical plays in the waning moments after some defensive lapses. In short, they survived. Isn't …

    South Florida defensive end Greg Reaves (41) reacts after a defensive stop against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH107
  4. No. 16 USF hangs on at Tulane, off to first 7-0 start

    College

    NEW ORLEANS — After half a season of mismatches, USF found itself in a grudge match Saturday night.

    USF quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) runs for a touchdown against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH103
  5. Lightning journal: Tighter defense fuels hot start

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — See what happens when you keep the crease clean, limit the traffic in front of G Andrei Vasilevskiy and limit Grade A scoring chances?

    Yanni Gourde, right, gets a late first-period goal that follows a big save by Andrei Vasilevskiy.