For Chiefs quarterback Brady Quinn, the death of a teammate is close to home.
Quinn was playing with the Broncos in 2010 when wide receiver Kenny McKinley committed suicide. But on Saturday, when Quinn and his teammates were told that linebacker Jovan Belcher had shot himself and his girlfriend, Quinn was no better prepared for the emotions and what-ifs that followed.
“It’s hard mostly because I keep thinking about what I could have done to stop this,” Quinn told the Kansas City Star. “I think everyone is wondering whether we would have done something to prevent this from happening. And then we’re all thinking about his daughter, 3 or 4 months old and without a parent.
“It’s hard to not allow the emotions of the situation to creep into your head with the game this close. But we’re going to do the best we can to concentrate on the task at hand.”
Quinn and the Chiefs’ five other team captains told coach Romeo Crennel that they thought Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers should go on as scheduled. The players union did not object, although the NFL is providing grief counselors for the players. Most, including Quinn, were already trying to move forward.
“There’s always two ways of looking at things,” Quinn said, according to the Kansas City Star. “You can look at the negative in it, at the loss that occurred. Or you can try to look at it and try to find whatever positives you can take from it. Jovan Belcher was a great guy, a great teammate, a great father. He hadn’t been a father for very long.
“As players and teammates, we need to do a better job of reaching out to people and trying to be more involved and more invested in their lives. You never really know what’s going on in someone’s life, what they’re struggling with or what they’re battling through.”
Quinn said he and his teammates have talked about setting up a fund to take care of Belcher’s daughter.
The players skipped their usual 9 a.m. meeting and 11 a.m. walkthrough Saturday, with Crennel telling them the news and then sending them home to prepare in their own ways for Sunday’s matchup.
“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 Chiefs are reportedly trying to find a way to honor Belcher and victims of domestic violence at the game Sunday, although deciding how has been difficult considering how the situation unfolded.