The Kansas City Chiefs came away winners Sunday against the Carolina Panthers, but the mood among the players was predictably somber in the wake of Saturday's murder-suicide involving teammate Jovan Belcher.
Quarterback Brady Quinn was among the players still trying to come to terms with Belcher killing himself at the Chiefs' Arrowhead Stadium training facility Saturday morning after he shot his girlfriend to death in their home. Quinn had his best game as a professional, passing for 201 yards and two touchdowns in the 27-21 win, but the performance took a back seat to Saturday's shocking events.
"I'm just trying to get through the rest of today," Quinn said after the game. "The emotions of what has taken place will probably hit home for a few guys the next few days, when they realize what's taken place."
Despite the tragedy, Chiefs coaches and players made the decision to go on with Sunday's game. Quinn said he had a difficult time trying to shift his focus on beating the Panthers in the hours before the game.
"When I walked in the locker room, I didn't look toward his (Belcher's) locker," Quinn said. "Then, as I sat down when I first got in, I looked across and I saw his jersey hanging up, his locker was still filled with everything, and that's when it kind of hit me. It was kind of tough to step back and gain focus, what the task was in front of us, and more than anything else, as a player, we just wanted to try to come together as a team and bring some good to this situation, bring glory to the situation whenever you can."
Quinn wasn't the only Chiefs player still trying to understand why Belcher would kill his girlfriend and himself. Linebacker Andy Studebacker also found it difficult to play football.
"(Belcher) was a friend, a brother, his family is close to us," Studebaker said. "To hear that they're going through such a rough time is hard. To walk into a locker room without him today is tough. Being on the field without him for the first time in four years is tough. Obviously, football is a very small piece of this, but itâs a tough situation, and we will miss him. We cared about him. He was a brother to us, but we will lock arms and make the best of this."
Kansas City police haven't released a motive for the shootings, which claimed the life of Kasandra Perkins and left the couple's three-month-old daughter, Zoey, an orphan.
Quinn said the Chiefs are planning to put together a fund for Zoey.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.