Originally posted on FOX Sports  |  Last updated 12/1/12
It appears Sunday's game between Kansas City and Carolina will be played as scheduled even in the aftermath of the murder/suicide involving Chiefs middle linebacker Jovan Belcher. FOXSports.com NFL Insider Jay Glazer reported that the league has "full plans" of playing the game at 1 p.m. ET Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium. The Charlotte Observer reported that the Panthers were told by the NFL to maintain their Saturday afternoon travel plans for the matchup. Glazer, though, reports there is still a chance the NFL could decide later to postpone the contest in light of Belcher's Saturday morning suicide at team headquarters after police said he had killed his girlfriend. One possibility would be shifting kickoff until Monday night to give Chiefs players and coaches more time to grieve. However, the NFL is reticent to change preset schedules because of the logistics involved in doing so from both a travel and organizational standpoint with stadium and game personnel. An NFL spokesman told FOXSports.com that two top league executives -- Robert Gulliver (human resources) and Troy Vincent (player engagement) - are mobilizing a crisis management team to help Chiefs employees cope with the situation. The NFL Players Association has also reached out to the Chiefs. "We have been in touch with players," NFLPA executive George Atallah wrote on his Twitter account. "At a time like this, we can only come together as a family and as a community." Kansas City police said that Belcher, a four-year Chiefs player, killed his girlfriend and then headed to Arrowhead Stadium. Belcher, 25, later shot himself in the head in front of several members of the Chiefs organization that included general manager Scott Pioli and head coach Romeo Crennel, police said. The league has a mixed history when it comes to game rescheduling following national tragedies. The NFL played in the immediate aftermath of President John F. Kennedy's assassination in November 1963, which remains a controversial decision to this day. All games were postponed for one week following the terrorist attacks on the U.S. in 2001. The NFL extended the regular season by one week to play the Week 2 slate of games in early January. In-season deaths of active players are rare. The last one to die during a game was Detroit Lions punter Chuck Hughes in 1971. Hughes went into cardiac arrest late in the fourth quarter of a Lions-Chicago Bears matchup and was taken off the field on a stretcher. Without knowing Hughes' medical condition, Detroit and Chicago finished the game. No future contests were cancelled. Recent in-season player deaths include Chicago defensive end Gaines Adams (2010), Cincinnati wide receiver Chris Henry (2009) and Washington safety Sean Taylor (2007). All of their respective teams played their next game as scheduled. The Panthers dealt with an in-season domestic tragedy in 1999 when police filed three murder-related charges against wide receiver Rae Carruth after his pregnant girlfriend was fatally wounded in an act involving multiple accomplices. Carruth is still serving time in prison; the baby survived. Amidst this, the Panthers played their games as scheduled as well. A slew of NFL players and franchises made statements through Twitter expressing their condolences. Chiefs defensive end Tamba Hali (@TambaHali91) wrote that he was "devastated" by what happened.
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