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Mourners gather at funeral for Chiefs' Belcher

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Mourners gather at funeral for Chiefs' Belcher

DIX HILLS, N.Y. (AP) Jovan Belcher was remembered Wednesday for the accomplishments of a life that ended so suddenly and violently.

Several hundred mourners gathered for the Kansas City Chiefs linebacker's funeral near his hometown on Long Island. The 25-year-old Belcher shot and killed his girlfriend on Dec. 1, then drove to the Chiefs' practice facility and committed suicide in front of team officials.

At Upper Room Christian Church on Wednesday, relatives wore black - and red, the Chiefs' color. Pastor Dawn Mixon shared that Belcher's mother, Cheryl Shepherd, described him as a ``humble, kind young man.'' He had a soft spot for children and loved cartoons.

``We may not understand the reasons why we are here or understand what caused this tragedy,'' Mixon said.

At a celebration of Belcher's life, there were hints of the way it ended. A photo slide show played on a large screen above the stage, with images from Belcher's childhood through his football careers at nearby West Babylon High School and the University of Maine.

Then appeared the words ``In loving memory of'' Belcher and Kasandra Perkins, the mother of his 3-month-old daughter. After a series of pictures of Perkins and baby Zoey came the message, ``Keep this little girl in your prayers.''

``The legacy we pass on to her will be good,'' said his uncle, Davin Miles.

Next to an open casket were collages of photos and mementos from Belcher's playing career. An array of flowers spelled out W.B. for his high school.

Chiefs players and staff attended a memorial service for Belcher in Kansas City last week. His locker at their practice facility had been left intact after his death - his helmet, pads, laundry and shoes still sitting there the way he left them. As the Chiefs returned from an off day Wednesday, it had finally been cleaned out.

On a Saturday morning, the day before the team's game against the Carolina Panthers, Belcher shot the 22-year-old Perkins multiple times at their home. Police said Belcher and Perkins previously had been arguing.

Belcher then drove to Arrowhead Stadium, where he thanked coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli for all they'd done for him. As police arrived, Belcher slipped behind a car and put the gun to his head.

His path to becoming an NFL starter had been an unlikely one. Belcher did not play in college football's top division, and he wasn't drafted. But he made the Chiefs, becoming a full-time starter in 2010.

Bishop Stephanie Green described Belcher as ``a man who did some awesome things - while other young men his age were out hustling, slinging and doing other things, he chose an education.''

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AP Sports Writer Dave Skretta in Kansas City, Mo., contributed to this report.

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Expect Aaron Rodgers to be ready for the Redskins despite missed practices

Expect Aaron Rodgers to be ready for the Redskins despite missed practices

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers did not practice on Thursday. That was a second straight day missed due to a knee injury he sustained in the season opener. However, there is little doubt that he will be behind center at FedEx Field on Sunday when Green Bay takes on the Redskins

It should be clarified that no Packer practiced on Wednesday. Coach Mike McCarthy decided to cancel practice to give his team more recovery time as they played 70 minutes during a 29-29 tie against the Vikings. McCarthy cited the “unusual heat for this part of the country” and decided his team could use the rest more than work. 

But in their required injury report, the Packers said that Rodgers would not have practiced even if the team had held its scheduled session. On Thursday, Rodgers worked with other rehabbing players on a side field.

This sticks with the pattern that Rodgers followed last week. He also sat out practice on Friday before taking part in the team’s one-hour session on Saturday. 

The lack of practice did not seem to affect Rodgers too badly against the Vikings. He completed 30 of 42 passes for 281 yards and a touchdown. Even though he took four sacks, Rodgers got better as the game went on. In the second half, he passed for 201 yards, averaging 8.0 yards per pass attempt. 

Speaking to the Green Bay media on Thursday, Rodgers said that he is concerned about the knee getting worse as the season goes on. 

"Yeah, obviously that's a concern," Rodgers said via ESPN.com. "Hopefully it goes the other way though."

All Rodgers knows at this point is that he won’t be 100 percent when he takes the field on Sunday. 

"It just depends on how the week goes with the rehab and the recovery," Rodgers said. "Obviously, I'd love to be better than I was last week as far as health-wise but there's some factors that are out of my control."

Those factors obviously are out of the Redskins’ control, also. There hasn’t been any talk of Rodgers’ knee from Redskins Park this week. They are expecting him to be his usual self although his mobility may be somewhat impaired. 

That doesn’t mean that they will not try to rattle him. It’s always good to get after the opposing QB and deliver some hard hits. When that quarterback is wearing a large knee brace the target on him becomes even bigger and brighter. 

The Redskins’ pass rush has not been very effective so far this year as they have picked up just three sacks. Sunday would be a good time for Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, and the interior line to turn up the pressure. 

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Capitals vs. Hurricanes preseason Game 4: Time, TV Channel, Live stream, how to watch

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Capitals vs. Hurricanes preseason Game 4: Time, TV Channel, Live stream, how to watch

The preseason continues after the Capitals' loss in Montreal Thursday night. They are hoping to gain some momentum and dominate in Friday's game.

Even without the home advantage, they hope to take home a win as they face the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Hurricanes are one of the four teams the Capitals will face in preseason play, along with the Bruins, Canadiens and Blues.

The Capitals and Hurricanes will meet once again, next Friday at Capital One Arena. But first, it's time to get back on the ice for Game 4 of the seven-game preseason schedule.

CAPITALS-HURRICANES PRESEASON GAME 4: HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Capitals vs. Carolina Hurricanes

Where: PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina

When: Friday, September, 21, 7:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Capitals-Hurricanes preseason game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Hurricanes preseason on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

Radio: Caps Radio 24/7

CAPITALS-HURRICANES PRESEASON TV SCHEDULE:

7:00 PM: Washington Capitals: My Day with the Cup (R)
7:30 PM: NHL Preseason: Capitals @ Carolina Hurricanes 
10:00 PM: Caps Postgame Live (LIVE)

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