Saturday morning found the NFL world reeling from terrible and nearly unfathomable news, reported by the The Kansas City Star, that Jovan Belcher took his own life not long after taking the life of his girlfriend, the mother of his three-month-old daughter.
This is the heartbreaking kind of news that can make anyone realize it is a luxury to care about sports. It pushes well beyond the bounds of competition and hits nerves centered around the human condition.
You'll see that, and plenty of sympathy and condolences, as many of Belcher's peers took to Twitter as they tried to come to grips with this tragic news.
While this news has been felt throughout the league, it is with his teammates in Kansas City that this has hit closest to home. Belcher spent all four of his NFL seasons with the Chiefs.
Teammate Tamba Hali offered his sympathy with a heavy heart:
I am devastated by this mornings events. I want to send my thoughts and prayers out to everyone effected by this tragedy.— Tamba Hali (@TambaHali91) December 1, 2012
Meanwhile, fellow Chief Dexter McCluster is looking toward a higher power while also expressing the bond he shared with Belcher:
Times like this you have to pray!!! I love you man, brothers for life!!!! #chiefs— Dexter McCluster (@dextermccluster) December 1, 2012
Safety Kendrick Lewis also let it be known that his former teammate will remain in his heart, while sending his prayers to those involved in this tragic situation:
Forever in our heart! Love you bro...May God be with both families! Thoughts and Prayers go up.— Kendrick Lewis (@klewis23) December 1, 2012
Chiefs offensive tackle David Mims found himself in a situation that is not uncommon when something so permanent happens so suddenly. He is just trying to grasp reality:
This just doesn't seem real...praying for 59 and his family— David Mims (@D_Mims70) December 1, 2012
Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt released this statement via the team's website:
The entire Chiefs family is deeply saddened by today's events, and our collective hearts are heavy with sympathy, thoughts and prayers for the families and friends affected by this unthinkable tragedy. We sincerely appreciate the expressions of sympathy and support we have received from so many in the Kansas City and NFL communities, and ask for continued prayers for the loved ones of those impacted.
We will continue to fully cooperate with the authorities and work to ensure that the appropriate counseling resources are available to all members of the organization.
While his teammates are painfully close to this situation, the tragedy of these events is being felt and expressed far beyond those in Kansas City:
Will Allen of the Pittsburgh Steelers is praying for the best for those mostly closely involved.
Praying for Javon Belcher and his girlfriend, their respective families and the KC Chiefs— Will Allen 26 (@WillAllenWAF) December 1, 2012
Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith, who has been dealing with the tragic death of his younger brother, sent his condolences while offering a little perspective on the importance of his profession:
Prayers up for the Chiefs and the families that were affected— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) December 1, 2012
Life is wayyyy bigger than football...people forget that at times...respect their situation and pray for them— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) December 1, 2012
As a testament to Smith's sentiment that life is way bigger than football, NFL.com's Ian Rapoport relayed a statement of empathy from the Raiders:
Former NFL wide receiver Chad Johnson made sure that Belcher's girlfriend and her family would be in his thoughts:
With very little information available on the girlfriend of Javon Belcher I'd like to extend my deepest sympathy to her family n friends 🙏— Chad Johnson (@ochocinco) December 1, 2012
Along with the tweets highlighted in this article, I also extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends who are reeling from this sudden loss of life.
We can only hope that this outpouring of emotion, sympathy, thoughts and prayers will in some way bring a modicum of comfort to those struggling to come to grips from the day's dark events.