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Antoine Winfield returns to Vikings after brother's funeral

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Antoine Winfield struggled to come up with the words to describe what it's been like in the nine days since his younger brother was murdered.

The Minnesota Vikings cornerback played in the season opener last weekend four days after learning of the death of 30-year-old Anthony Travis. And when the Vikings take the field against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, he will be playing just three days after attending his brother's funeral.

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Winfield returned to practice on Friday, one day after flying to his hometown of Akron, Ohio, for the services of Travis, who had two daughters.

"That was tough, probably one of the toughest days of my life," Winfield said. "Going to bury my younger brother was a very difficult situation."

Winfield has been leaning on his teammates and the organization for support through these trying times and said he has been using football as his escape. Vikings general manager Rick Spielman attended the funeral, and players and coaches have showered Winfield with support.

"I don't want to say it was easy because it wasn't at all," Winfield said. "But it helped just being around the guys. Trying to keep a smile on my face and try to take my mind off of it. But during the game Sunday, I thought about it a little bit at the beginning. But once (I was) on the field, I totally concentrated on football."

The incident left Winfield lamenting the difficult environment in Akron, one he said doesn't offer the young people many opportunities to avoid a life of crime and poverty.

"I'm dealing with it. But it's Akron, Ohio," he said. "It's rough there. It's rough. A lot of guys aren't going to school, (they're) doing the wrong things. You get caught up in bad situations and those things happen."

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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