avon Belcher tragedy: Owner let Chiefs decide to play

  • By Kareem Copeland
  • Around the League Writer
  • Published: Dec. 2, 2012 at 12:40 p.m

Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt let coach Romeo Crennel and the team captains make the decision to play against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. Hunt told NFL Network's Randy Moss the decision was unanimous.
"I decided to leave it up to the team," Hunt said. "I called Coach Crennel and asked him to call the captains and see what they thought the right decision was. So he called the six captains, who heard from their teammates, and they unanimously believed the right decision was to go forward with the game.
"So that's how we made the decision, it was really a team and coaching staff decision."
The organization was left spinning Saturday when linebacker Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend, drove to the team facility, then turned the gun on himself.
"We do have a lot of guys who are really hurting," Hunt said. "There are a lot of players and coaches that were close to Jovan and Kasandra, who was the victim. They're suffering right now. I told them, 'There's not a lot I can say to you other than we're family and we got to pull together right now and support each other.'
"They're going to come out and give it their best today, but I don't think anybody would fault them for being distracted."
Hunt said the Chiefs' fan base and the entire NFL family have been helpful.
"Our fans, and really the entire NFL community, have been incredibly supportive," Hunt said. "The outpouring of support from folks across the league has been tremendous. I think our fans will be supportive as well. They understand what a difficult situation this is for our coaching staff, particularly those that were present yesterday when Javon took his life, as well as the team.
"We have a lot of young players on this team that have never had to deal with something like this. I think our fans will be supportive and help the guys get through today."