Chiefs Murder-Suicide

Romeo Crennel: ‘I don’t know what made him snap’

Chiefs’ coach tries to keep his focus on being a leader to his grieving team in aftermath of Belcher murder-suicide.

Updated: 2013-02-01T18:41:07Z

By ADAM TEICHER

The Kansas City Star

Editor’s note: Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel spoke Monday with reporters about the events of the weekend, when Crennel witnessed linebacker Jovan Belcher commit suicide at Arrowhead Stadium after earlier killing his girlfriend in their home.

Q: How do you reconcile Belcher as a teammate versus his horrible acts?

A: “We will do it like any other family would do. Jovan is a member of the family. What he did, we didn’t like, we’re not crazy about, but he’s still a member of our family. When you go out in society and things like this happen in society because they do happen in society, you don’t see people throwing the family members out the door. They are still loved by their family members, but the act, you don’t like the act. So, you move on. You deal with it, and you don’t have a choice; you have to move on.”

Q: Did he ever express any troubles he was having in his personal life?

A: “No major troubles in his life. Everybody has issues in their personal life. I mean, all of us here have issues in our personal life. Everybody handles issues differently; from dealing with Jovan, he seemed like a strong-willed individual to me. He’s a leader. He was sitting in the front of the classroom; he’s the first to the drills, all of those things. You’re surprised by the events of the last few days.”

Q: How was coming back to work for the first time since the incident?

A: “It was like coming to work like you normally do. You think about the events as you walk through the door and walk through the parking lot, but you know the events are over and you cannot undo them. They’ve been done; you cannot undo them. The only thing you can do is work for the future and toward the future.”

Q: What’s your mental state right now?

A: “I’ve got a good mental state. My daughters and my wife, they tell me that I must be crazy, that something should be wrong with me, but I can deal with stress. I can deal with grief, so I’m dealing with it by trying to be the leader that those young men upstairs need. They’re young, so they need a good leader at this time. I’m being that for them.”

Q: Have you been able to vent the way you need to?

A: “Other than my daughters and my wife, I don’t know that I need to vent. I’ve seen a lot of life, and you see things happen, and life still goes on. You have to deal with it. I’m not saying that everybody deals with it the same way, but it has to be dealt with. You do the best you can.”

Q: Were there past experiences in your life that helped you get through this?

A: “Basically, probably my father because he’s a military guy. No major issues happened like the last couple days, but the way he handles himself and the discipline that he had to have as a career Army guy. He brought that home, and we had to be part of it. I think that helped me deal with some of it. My mother was a very patient person as well, so I took some of her patience to help deal with life in general.”

Q: What’s your stance on players owning guns?

A: “I haven’t really had a stance on players owning guns because the law is what the law is. The thing that I’m always concerned about is that there are certain states that have different laws as far as gun ownership is concerned. When we get guys, you have to educate them about laws in your state.

“Generally, what we’ve attempted to do was tell them to know the law, turn your gun in to our security people, let us hold onto it — and then, after that, if you need it, you can take it home. You can go put it in your safe or whatever you need to do with it, but the law allows for them to have guns.”

Q: What do you mean “turn it in to the security people?”

A: “Well, you’re talking about people who come to you and sometimes they don’t know the law. They just have a gun. Believe it or not, some of them drive it up in their cars. They might drive it to a state that they don’t know the laws in that state, or the state that they have to travel to with the gun in the car. So what we try to do is educate them and inform them and say, ‘Look, let us take care of this gun for you because you can’t have it on NFL property. At any NFL event, you can’t have one, so let’s not be tempted by it.’ ”

Q: Do you think Jovan Belcher was overwhelmed by having a high-profile job and being a new father?

A: “Now you’re trying to make me a psychologist, and I’m not a psychologist. I don’t know what made him snap. I was surprised, so I can’t answer that question.”

Q: Have you talked to Jamaal Charles?

A: “Yes, I talk to Jamaal every day. Jamaal, he has a double-whammy, is what he has. He lost two people in this incident, and he’s taking it kind of hard. I think yesterday was good for him, so he could take his mind off of it a little bit. It’s a tough situation, but I think Jamaal will get through it and we will help him get through it.”

To reach Adam Teicher, call 816-234-4875 or send email to ateicher@kcstar.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/adamteicher.

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