Philadelphia, PA – A disastrous Chiefs season turned dark early Saturday morning when shots rang out in Kansas City.
Chiefs' fourth-year linebacker Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend, reported by TMZ and others as 22-year-old Kasandra Perkins, in front of his own mother.
A short time later Kansas City's embattled general manager and head coach, Scott Pioli and Romeo Crennel, were in the parking lot at Kansas City's practice facility located at Arrowhead Stadium when Belcher drove up.
Both men and other members of the Chiefs' staff tried to settle Belcher down but police had already been alerted, and when they arrived on the scene, the Long Island native took his own life.
"When officers arrived (at Arrowhead Stadium), they observed a black male who had a gun to his head and he was talking to a couple of coaches out in the parking lot," police spokesman Darrin Snapp told reporters outside Arrowhead Stadium. "As officers pulled up and began to park, that's when they heard the gunshot and it appears the individual took his own life."
Belcher, who entered the NFL as a rookie free agent out of Maine before developing into a competent starter, reportedly thanked both Pioli and Crennel for giving him a chance before ending his life.
"He had a conversation with Scott Pioli," Kansas City Police Capt. David Lindaman said when talking about Belcher's final moments. "There was no threat and it was quite friendly, from what I understand. The Chiefs organization had been very supportive of him and he was expressing that."
Just like that -- football was put in perspective
This wasn't about 1-10 or zone coverages versus aggressive defensive play, Belcher was a distraught young man who committed the most selfish of acts, leaving his 3-month-old baby girl without a mother or father.
"The entire Chiefs family is deeply saddened by today's events, and our collective hearts are heavy with sympathy, thoughts and prayers for the families and friends affected by this unthinkable tragedy," Chiefs owner Clark Hunt said in a statement.
"We sincerely appreciate the expressions of sympathy and support we have received from so many in the Kansas City and NFL communities, and ask for continued prayers for the loved ones of those impacted."
Most of us can't imagine why a 25-year-old man who was scheduled to make nearly $2 million dollars in 2012 would throw it all away in an instance but problems are problems and they are rarely satiated by a couple of extra zeros in any pay check.
Jovan Belcher obviously had some serious problems.
Most described him a soft-spoken, humble kid but prone to violent outbursts. There was an issue at Maine where he reportedly punched through a window after a fight with his then-girlfriend but he never had any real off the field problems in Kansas City.
One source, reported to be a friend of the couple by the Kansas City Star, said they were arguing from the early morning hours after the woman was out late attending a Trey Songz concert. The friend, who was not identified, told the newspaper that they had dated for about three years and argued frequently but was not aware of any prior physical abuse.
Since people need answers, expect all the normal speculation. The concussion crowd will point to all the collisions inside linebackers go through on a weekly basis, while both sides of the gun debate will be ready with their myopic logic. Those who dislike the NFL will decry the violent culture of the game.
And there have already been plenty of classless "jokes" thrown around on bottom-feeder websites like Deadspin centering on the Chiefs' troubles on the field.
The real answer is a probably a whole lot simpler -- immaturity.
Two very young people with more than most in life didn't know how to communicate and violence erupted. Unfortunately that's an all too common storyline across the country.
On Saturday it just happened to impact the Chiefs and the NFL.