As Chiefs middle linebackers, Brandon Siler sat next to Jovan Belcher in daily meetings.
The next meeting is Monday.
“There’s not going to be anybody in that seat,” Siler said. “It’s going to hit hard.”
As was for Siler and the Chiefs on Sunday, the day after the murder-suicide in which Belcher shot Kasandra Perkins, his girlfriend and the mother of their three-month old daughter, and then took his life at the team’s practice facility.
Siler and Belcher were friends. Siler knew Perkins and saw her at the Trey Songz concert at The Midland on Friday night. It was an argument with Belcher after Perkins returned from concert that precipitated the shooting.
Siler spent Saturday afternoon absorbing all that had happened, asking himself if he should have recognized a problem.
“It’s one of the first things you do, think if I could have done something,” Siler said. “I went through it a hundred times in my mind, and I couldn’t think of anything.
“There are a lot of what-ifs, it drives you crazy. You have to cope with it and deal with it. It’s real and it happened.”
Eventually, Siler spent Saturday afternoon alone. He appreciated the offer of grief counselors, but he wanted to work things out for himself.
“I wanted to handle it in my own way,” he said.
As he was working through the day’s events, Siler had to prepare for his first start of the season. He had missed 2011 because of an Achilles’ injury and made his first start since 2010 when he played for the Chargers.
Siler was credited with two tackles on a day he made the defensive calls.
“It creeps in the back of your mind when you’re in the huddle and you realize (Belcher) was the play caller before,” cornerback Jalil Brown said. “Now you’re looking at someone else, so that was tough.”
Siler called Belcher “a good teammate who always seemed happy,” but his thoughts are primarily with the survivors.
“All I know is there are two families out there, and there’s a little baby girl out there who is going to get my prayers every day for the rest of my life,” Siler said. “That’s what’s really important to me.”