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In 2006, Goodell’s first season, 68 players were arrested for crimes more severe than a traffic violation. Since then, arrests for crimes including domestic violence, drunken driving and gun possession are down 40 percent.

Yet, as Goodell noted, the number of incidents in the last year have climbed at an alarming rate _ according to one study, 21 of the league’s 32 teams had at least one player charged with domestic violence or sexual assault _ and the tragedies involving players on successive weekends has already prompted accusations that the league isn’t doing nearly enough.

On Saturday in Kansas City, a dozen members of the Chiefs’ organization attended a memorial service for Kasandra Perkins. Among them was general manager Scott Pioli, whom Belcher spoke with in the parking lot of the Chiefs facility to thank before turning the gun on himself. A day later, just as the Chiefs did against the Panthers last Sunday, the Cowboys rallied to win their game against the Bengals.

The team has already canceled its annual Christmas party, scheduled for Monday at Cowboys Stadium, and instead began planning a memorial service for Brown.

“From here on, they’re in uncharted waters,” Reeves said. “No one can point the best way forward. I was lucky in that sense: We never had to deal with the nightmare of losing a friend and teammate. One thing I’m certain of, though _ it’s going to haunt some of them for a long time to come.”