Jovan Belcher, who grew up on Long Island and played football for West Babylon High School, before attending college and becoming the starting outside linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs, has died in a grisly murder-suicide.
Belcher, 25, who joined the NFL in 2009 as a free agent with the Chiefs, is reported to have shot his girlfriend in her home, then traveled to the Chief’s training facility.
Police have yet to establish a motive for the shooting, but already speculation has started on whether Belcher had suffered from any concussions while playing and, if so, whether that could have contributed to his mental condition.
Belcher reportedly met with Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli and head coach Romeo Crennel in the parking lot. He thanked them for giving him the opportunity to play before shooting himself, according to the Kansas City Star.
Belcher shot and killed his girlfriend in front of her mother before driving to the team’s practice facility next to Arrowhead Stadium, USA Today reports. They have a three-month-old daughter, who was unharmed.
The Chiefs are still scheduled to play against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. Belcher played in 11 games so far this year and started 10 as outside linebacker. He had solid seasons in 2010 and 2011 and returned to the team as a free-agent this year.
Belcher was a standout athlete in high school. He played linebacker, offensive tackle, nose guard and fullback on the football team, which went undefeated during the regular season in his senior year. He also was also named All-America high school wrestler three times.
He played collegiate football at the University of Maine and was considered one of the best “small-school prospects” coming out of college.