Wizards

Chiefs begin picking up pieces after heartache

201212021629593793020-p2.jpeg

Chiefs begin picking up pieces after heartache

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The Kansas City Chiefs returned to work Monday at their practice facility near Arrowhead Stadium, trying to find a sense of normalcy after two days of unimaginable heartache.

It proved nearly impossible to do.

The locker that once belong to Jovan Belcher, the linebacker who killed his girlfriend and then turned the gun on himself Saturday, still had all his belongings in it. His shoes were piled up on the floor and freshly laundered clothes hung from a hook.

To enter the building, Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli had to walk past the place in the parking lot where Belcher put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger, and Crennel admitted that an unsettling feeling came over him.

Teammates gathered in meetings and to watch film from Sunday's 27-21 win against the Carolina Panthers, one that ended an eight-game losing streak. They couldn't help but notice the empty seat that once belonged to their close friend.

``We have to deal with the events of the last few days, and it's not over, and it may not be over for some of us for most of our lives, but time heals all wounds, and so we're going to start working on the time thing,'' said Crennel, who's been a rock for everyone in the organization.

``It was like coming to work like you normally do,'' he said. ``Now you think about the events as you walk through the door and walk through the parking lot, but you know the events are over, and you can't undo them. All you can do is work for the future and toward the future.''

Following the emotional victory over Carolina, Crennel declined to discuss many of the details surrounding Belcher's suicide. He shared a bit more on Monday while attempting to prepare his team for the next game, including his exchange with the linebacker moments before his death.

``I was trying to get him to understand that life is not over, he still has a chance and let's get this worked out,'' said Crennel, who didn't know about Perkins' murder while he talked to Belcher.

Crennel, who has coached at the college or pro level for more than 40 years, said he had never seen Belcher with a gun before, and expressed his concerns over players owning firearms without knowing the laws.

``Generally what we've attempted to do was tell them to know the law, turn your gun in to our security people, let us hold onto it and then after that, if you need it, you can take it home,'' he said. ``You can go put it in your safe or whatever you need to do with it, but the law allows for them to have guns.''

Much of Monday seemed quite normal for the Chiefs.

They gathered for their normal team meetings in the morning, and watched video of their win over Carolina. They broke mid-afternoon to begin planning for next Sunday's visit to Cleveland.

Still, there were signs at every turn that nothing was quite as usual.

Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt routinely sticks around the day after a game, but this time he was there to lend support to an organization in mourning. Chaplains were also at the facility, as were outside counselors brought in to help players and staff come to grips with tragedy.

``It's new territory for everyone,'' tight end Tony Moeaki said. ``We're all trying to figure out how to handle the situation. We're just trying to take it one day at a time, come into meetings - it's nice to be in meetings, watching film. Your mind's not on it as much.''

Linebacker Brandon Siler said he spent Thanksgiving with Belcher, and ``it was Thanksgiving as you know it, all laughs and praying and loving.''

``It was hard to walk back in the parking lot, but it was harder to sit in the meetings,'' Siler said. ``He sits right beside me. That was hard. You keep looking at that seat, thinking he was going to show up at some time, you know? That's hard.''

Players were also struggling to reconcile the man they knew with the man who murdered 22-year-old Kasandra M. Perkins, and who left a 3-year-old girl, Zoey, an orphan.

``I try not to do it, really,'' right tackle Eric Winston said. ``I just try to accept the fact who he was pre, and who he was after, and I'm not sure those thoughts can live together, but until the end of the season, that's just going to have to do.''

Yes, there is still a season to be played.

The Chiefs visit the Browns on Sunday and visit Oakland the following week, before returning home to play Indianapolis. Their season finale is Dec. 30 at Denver.

``It's something that there is no textbook on how to handle, and how to feel, and there's a lot of emotions, confusing emotions,'' center Ryan Lilja said. ``But we're going to try to get back to football as best we can, and let guys grieve whatever way they need to, and be respectful of that, but we need to try to be back on football, and it's going to be tough.''

---

Online:http://pro32.ap.org andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Quick Links

NBA offseason grades: With Kawhi Leonard, Raptors shined most in Atlantic Division

kawhi.png
USA TODAY Sports

NBA offseason grades: With Kawhi Leonard, Raptors shined most in Atlantic Division

Here is a look at how the 2018 NBA offseason went for teams in the Atlantic Division...

Toronto Raptors, B+

2017-18 finish: 59-23, 2nd round of playoffs
In: F Kawhi Leonard, G Danny Green, C Greg Monroe
Out: G DeMar DeRozan, C Jakub Poeltl, C Lucas Nogueira

The Raptors had one of the more consequential offseasons of any NBA team this year. First, they fired Dwane Casey, the 2017-18 NBA Coach of the Year, following a season in which they won 59 games. Then, they pulled off the biggest trade of the summer, a deal that featured two perennial All-NBA players. They let go of DeRozan and brought in Leonard in return. If they hadn't parted with DeRozan and Casey, they may have gotten an A. But it's hard to tell how much better they will be following the deal and Leonard does bring with him some concerns based on his quadriceps injury and the fact he has only one year left on his contract. The Raptors do, however, also get points for re-signing point guard Fred VanVleet.

Boston Celtics, C

2017-18 finish: 55-27, conference finals
In: C Robert Williams, G Brad Wanamaker
Out: C Greg Monroe

One year ago, the Celtics flipped nearly their entire roster and brought in Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. This year, they mostly stood pat and didn't add much of anything in free agency or trades. Their biggest acquisition was Williams, who they took 27th overall in the first round of the draft. The Celtics will hope they improve from within. They re-signed Marcus Smart and Aron Baynes, and should get Irving and Hayward back from injuries. They should have plenty of talent to compete for an NBA Finals berth, but as far as this offseason goes, they didn't do much.

Philadelphia 76ers, D+

2017-18 finish: 52-30, 2nd round of playoffs
In: F Wilson Chandler, C Mike Muscala, G Zhaire Smith, G Landry Shamet
Out: G Marco Belinelli, F Ersan Ilyasova

Where do we begin? This summer was about as dramatic and bad as it could get for the Sixers. First, they had to fire their general manager because of a burner Twitter account scandal. Then, they struck out miserably in free agency with LeBron James and Paul George, and in trade talks for Leonard. After that, Smith - their first round pick - hurt his foot. And along the way, Ben Simmons has been dating a Kardashian, flirting with the curse that has claimed many pro athletes before him. Philly did re-sign J.J. Redick and Johnson, and the Chandler trade was nice, but all in all it was an offseason that fell way short of the Sixers' expectations. That said, they can still get way better next season based solely on their young players taking another step.

New York Knicks, B

2017-18 finish: 29-53, missed playoffs
In: F Mario Hezonja, F Kevin Knox, F Noah Vonleh, C Mitchell Robinson
Out: F Michael Beasley, G Jarrett Jack, F Kyle O'Quinn

It's been a while since the Knicks had an offseason to write home about and this one is no exception. There was nothing they did that would flirt with an A-grade. However, the early returns on their draft are excellent. Knox and Robinson were both standouts in the Summer League and offer fans a little bit more hope about the team's future. As long as Kristaps Porzingis can return this season safe and sound from his ACL tear, the Knicks could take a step forward in 2018-19.

Brooklyn Nets, C+

2017-18 finish: 28-54, missed playoffs
In: F Ed Davis, F Kenneth Faried, F Jared Dudley
Out: F Dante Cunningham, G Nik Stauskas, C Jahlil Okafor

The best news about the Nets' offseason is that their trade with the Celtics, the one that stripped them of years of first round picks, is finally over. Next year, the Nets will have a first round pick. This summer, they once again didn't add any major pieces in the draft, but seemed to make some smart moves in free agency. The Davis deal is solid and Faried may benefit from a change of scenery. More baby steps for Brooklyn.

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE WIZARDS NEWS

 

Quick Links

Dmitry Orlov dazzles his hometown of Novokuznetsk with the Stanley Cup

orlov2.jpg
USA Today Sports

Dmitry Orlov dazzles his hometown of Novokuznetsk with the Stanley Cup

Friday featured Dmitry Orlov and his jam-packed schedule with the coveted Stanley Cup.

The 27-year-old native of Russia decided to take the Cup to Novokuznetsk (located in the southwest region of Siberia) for a meet and greet with fans by the Ferris wheel at Gagarin City Park.

It should be mentioned that Orlov's day with the trophy was nearly derailed after a travel glitch that sent the Cup to Novosibirsk instead of his hometown. 

Thanks to the ultimate assist from a helicopter, the Cup arrived in style and set up one memorable entrance for the defenseman. 

Orlov released this hype video which highlights his entire day on Instagram: 

Дорогие друзья! Огромное спасибо, что разделили с нами наш праздник! Для нас это значимое и большое событие! Ещё раз приносим искренние извинения за задержку с кубком! И спасибо за понимание, мы старались сделать все максимально быстро! Спасибо за тёплый приём! Нашим родным, друзьям, тренерам, отдельная благодарность! Вы сделали наш праздник, наш день! Мы никогда не забудем этот праздник! P.S. Лена @govor_elena , тебе и твоим родным, отдельная благодарность, если бы не ваша помощь, то не известно когда бы кубок был в Новокузнецке!

A post shared by Dmitry Orlov (@orlov_09) on

Talk about a banner weekend for the Washington Capitals. The Ovechkins welcomed their new son, Sergei Aleksandrovich, into the world and Orlov pulled off yet another spectacular day with the Cup.

 

MORE CAPS NEWS: 

Say It Ain't SoCapitals draft pick admits he is...a Flyers fan

JJ In The LabKey Caps questions: What rookies will have an impact next season?

So You're Saying There's a ChanceOddsmakers give three Capitals the chance to win MVP in 2018-19