Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli, who witnessed Jovan Belcher take his own life last weekend, gave a eulogy for the fallen player during a one-hour memorial service attended by Chiefs players, coaches and staff, including chairman Clark Hunt, on Wednesday afternoon.
“It was rough on him,” former Chiefs great and Hall of Famer Bobby Bell said of Pioli. “It’s a sad situation. You never want to be put under those situations … you don’t want to see things like that. For him to get up and say something, I don’t know how he got through it.”
Pioli, head coach Romeo Crennel and defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs unsuccessfully tried to dissuade Belcher from pulling the trigger on Saturday in the parking lot of the Chiefs’ practice facility shortly after Belcher had shot and killed his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, the mother of their 3-month-old daughter, Zoey.
Bell said in addition to Pioli, an uncle of Belcher’s also spoke at the service at the Landmark International Deliverance and Worship Center, a short drive from Arrowhead Stadium.
The service was not open to the public, but Bell, one of the franchise’s all-time great players, wanted to pay his respects, “for everybody on the Chiefs and the family and the people who lost (loved ones).
“You don’t wish this on anyone,” Bell said. “He’s done what he did, and it’s over with, and now we have to sit back and see where we go from here. I’m in a daze … I can’t understand a young kid, 25 years old … his life is in front of him, and for it to be cut this short.
“Now the team has to move forward. It’s tough on them. A lot of the guys … when you see somebody and played with them, your buddy, your friend … he was just too young, man.”
As the players exited the church that Belcher and Perkins attended, many were misty-eyed and declined comment.
Before boarding one of the buses that took the Chiefs to the church, running back Peyton Hillis said going to the memorial service “is going to hit the guys hard. Some guys will take it really hard.
“With every ending comes a new beginning, so I think (the memorial service will provide some closure). Jovan will live through us, and we just have to do the best for him. That’s all we can do.”
Quarterback Brady Quinn thought about the entire community when he said: “I hope it will bring peace to a lot of people, not just the people on this team.”