NFL Announces Panthers vs. Chiefs Will Be Played as Originally Scheduled

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistDecember 1, 2012

KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 25:  Inside linebacker Jovan Belcher #59 of the Kansas City Chiefs walks off the field during his final game against the Denver Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium on November 25, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Despite the tragic Jovan Belcher murder-suicide on Saturday, the Kansas City Chiefs-Carolina Panthers game will go on as scheduled, according to a press release on the Chiefs' official website. 

Here is a look at the full statement:

After discussions between the league office, Head Coach Romeo Crennel and Chiefs team captains, the Chiefs advised the NFL that it will play tomorrow’s game vs. the Carolina Panthers at its originally scheduled time.

Based on the the most recent reports, the decision to go forth with the game is not much of a shock. The Panthers planned on boarding their regularly scheduled flight, according to The Charlotte Observer. Furthermore, the Chiefs reportedly wanted the game to be played, according to Kansas City Mayor Sly James (per Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan): 

KC Mayor Sly James on the Chiefs: "They think there should be a game tomorrow."

— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 1, 2012

As originally reported by Fox Sports' Jay Glazer on Saturday morning, Belcher, 25, reportedly took the life of his girlfriend before driving to Chiefs facilities and committing suicide on the team grounds. 

According to CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora, both head coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli were present at the time Belcher shot himself:

KCPD Officer Darin Snapp confirms GM Scott Pioli and Coach Romeo Crennel were outside team facility at the time Chiefs player killed himself

— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) December 1, 2012

Belcher, who started 44 games in his four seasons with Kansas City, recorded 33 tackles for the 1-10 Chiefs this season. He played college football at Maine and worked his way onto the roster and starting lineup despite being undrafted. 

His untimely death will undoubtedly weigh heavily on teammates as they try to navigate their way through Sunday's contest.

While the announcement confirms a game will be played on Sunday, it will no doubt come with heavy hearts.

Our thoughts are with the Belcher family and the Chiefs organization during this devastating time.