As bad as the mounting losses were for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012, nothing on the field compared to the tragedy involving linebacker Jovan Belcher off of it. Belcher murdered his girlfriend and committed suicide, leaving his daughter an orphan in the process.
While the Chiefs players were hit the hardest by this devastating tragedy, new Kansas City player Mike DeVito felt the pain all the way across the country in New York.
Belcher and DeVito were teammates for three years at the University of Maine. Both players ended up finding a similar path to the NFL as undrafted free agents. Much like the Chiefs players that were around Belcher every day in the NFL, DeVito wondered shortly after the incident how something like this could happen.
“It’s totally shocking and it’s disappointing,” DeVito told New York’s WFAN in December. “I’ve been praying like crazy for both families. I know the type of person that Jovan was in college, and learning from this experience, I wish I would have stayed in better touch with him.
“It makes you realize how important it is to stay involved in your friends’ lives, and always be catching up and checking in, even though they’re at different places. It’s devastating and it really has hit home. “
Those comments echoed those of former Chiefs QB Brady Quinn, who spoke about the importance of working on relationships after Kansas City rallied as a team to down the Carolina Panthers.
“We live in a society of social networks, with Twitter pages and Facebook, and that’s fine, but we have contact with our work associates, our family, our friends, and it seems like half the time we are more preoccupied with our phone and other things going on instead of the actual relationships that we have right in front of us,” Quinn said. “Hopefully, people can learn from this and try to actually help if someone is battling something deeper on the inside than what they are revealing on a day-to-day basis.”
For DeVito, he only wanted to remember the man he played with for three years. Not the man that committed such a heinous act.
“He was a first-class guy,” DeVito told the radio staion. “Just an awesome person, a funny guy to be around, and that’s why when I see his face on TV I’m totally shocked because it’s not something you would ever expect from him. He did so many great things, and now he’s going to be remembered as a murderer. It’s devastating because we know the type of person that Jovan was. Whatever led him to do this, this whole thing is just a disaster.”