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Chiefs begin picking up pieces after heartache
It proved nearly impossible to do.
The locker that once belong to Jovan Belcher, the linebacker who killed his girlfriend and then turned the gun on himself Saturday, still had all his belongings in it. His shoes were piled up on the floor and freshly laundered clothes hung from a hook.
Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli had to walk past the place in the parking lot where Belcher put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger to enter the building, and Crennel admitted to an unsettling feeling that came over him.
Teammates gathered in meetings and to watch film from Sunday’s 27-21 win against the Carolina Panthers, one that ended an eight-game losing streak. They couldn’t help but notice the empty seat that once belonged to their close friend.
“We have to deal with the events of the last few days, and it’s not over, and it may not be over for some of us for most of our lives, but time heals all wounds, and so we’re going to start working on the time thing,” said Crennel, who’s been a rock for everyone in the organization.
“It was like coming to work like you normally do,” he said. “Now you think about the events as you walk through the door and walk through the parking lot, but you know the events are over, and you can’t undo them. All you can do is work for the future and toward the future.”
Following the emotional victory over Carolina, Crennel declined to discuss many of the details surrounding Belcher’s suicide. He shared a bit more on Monday while attempting to prepare his team for the next game, including his exchange with the linebacker moments before his death.
Crennel, who has coached at the college or pro level for more than 40 years, said he had never seen Belcher with a gun before, and expressed his concerns over players owning firearms without knowing the laws.
“Generally what we’ve attempted to do was tell them to know the law, turn your gun in to our security people, let us hold onto it and then after that, if you need it, you can take it home,” he said. “You can go put it in your safe or whatever you need to do with it, but the law allows for them to have guns.”
Much of Monday seemed quite normal for the Chiefs.
They gathered for their normal team meetings in the morning, and watched video of their win over Carolina. They broke mid-afternoon to begin planning for next Sunday’s visit to Cleveland.
Still, there were signs at every turn that nothing was quite as usual.
Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt routinely sticks around the day after a game, but this time he was there to lend support to an organization in mourning. Chaplains were also at the facility, as were outside counselors brought in to help players and staff come to grips with tragedy.
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