Atlanta Falcons: Ex-Chief Mike Cox was friend of Belcher, coping with events

Atlanta Falcons running back Mike Cox comes off the field after cutting his nose during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars,  Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Stephen Morton)

Atlanta Falcons running back Mike Cox comes off the field after cutting his nose during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Stephen Morton)

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons fullback Mike Cox, who played three seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, was close friends with Jovan Belcher, the central figure in the murder-suicide Saturday that has rocked locker rooms around the NFL.

“It was kind of disbelief, when I first heard it,” said Cox, when asked about incident on Tuesday. “It’s still kind of unbelievable to me.”

Cox played for the Chiefs from 2008-10, appearing in 39 games and making 17 starts. In practice, a primary job was to block Belcher, a backup inside linebacker in 2009 and 2010.

“We met every time from training camp and through practice,” Cox said. “He was just a quiet guy. A good teammate. He was always there for you.”

Cox has closely followed the events in the wake of that tragic Saturday, replaying conversations with Belcher during their time together.

But he can’t come up with any indicator or clues as to what may have led Belcher to kill his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, and then himself.

“You just never really know,” Cox said. “No one brings all of their stuff into the locker room, but it is still kind of unbelievable.”

The Falcons didn’t address the incident as a team, but most of the players have discussed it.

“We’ve got such a tight knit group and we have (ever) since we’ve gotten here,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “It was a very tragic situation there in Kansas City and we feel for the families and the organization. It’s something that everybody has to deal with.”

Some Falcons said they’d keep an eye on Cox and how he’s coping. He said he’d welcome the comfort.

“We have such a family-oriented locker room,” Cox said. “No one should be embarrassed to truly and freely talk with your teammates. We are all brothers in here, so we need to have each other’s back.”

Veteran center Todd McClure said he plans to check in with the linemen.

“It’s definitely a tough situation,” McClure said. “It’s something that the NFL, players in general, need to check up and make sure that everybody is doing alright.”

The Falcons have several support mechanisms in place. They have an over-30 club and a rookie club for age-specific groups in the locker room.

Kevin Winston, the team’s senior director of player engagement, helps players with career counseling, financial and family matters and post-football career options.

In addition to Winston, Jason Webster serves as the team chaplain. Both Winston and Webster are former NFL players.

“That’s a heart (wrenching) story,” cornerback Christopher Owens said. “My prayers go out to that gentlemen’s family and the family of the victim and the daughter that was involved.”

The Falcons have tried to create a family atmosphere, where players would feel comfortable coming forward in case of a troubling situation.

“Every day, when we always break we say ‘Fam,’ like we are a family or like we are a tribe,” Owens said. “… We are close and we all check up on each other. It’s something that we do.”

Some players couldn’t hide their sadness over a case of senseless violence.

“You hate it for all of the families involved,” cornerback Dunta Robinson said. “As an athlete, that’s not one of the things you ever think is going to happen. Not even in your wildest dream do you think that’s a possibility. It just opens your eyes.”

Robinson has trouble imagining how the Chiefs are coping, much more what is going to happen to Belcher’s child.

“I was asked a question: Do I think they did the right thing in playing the football game (Sunday),” Robinson said. “I don’t think you can make that call unless you’re in that situation. I think they did what they thought was best for them and the organization.

“It was a good way for them to try to deal with it and grieve all at once. … There’s a three-month old baby girl that is going to be left alone and with a lot of questions one day. She’s going to hear about this in her future. You just hope that she has good people around her that are going to take care of her.”

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23 comments Add your comment

LOL at the Aints

December 4th, 2012
11:27 pm

can we all agree that Bob Costas is a Idiot.

Falcon James

December 4th, 2012
11:28 pm

An unbelievable tragedy. My heart goes out to the families who have to endure this loss and the baby girl. She will be in our prayers.

LOL at the Aints

December 4th, 2012
11:29 pm

And as Joe Tess FishHouse would say, FIST!!

Esquire

December 5th, 2012
1:14 am

LOL at the Aints
December 4th, 2012
11:27 pm

can we all agree that Bob Costas is a Idiot.
************************************************************************
No but I’d like to agree that you are.

Joe Dirte

December 5th, 2012
5:31 am

Nobody is an Idiot we are just sharing opinions. This is a time where there are Questions but no answers. All we can do is think and learn from this situation and try to be better people than we were the day before.

Marcus

December 5th, 2012
6:24 am

I didn’t hear Costas rant, but heard 3rd hand. If the gun availability was his issue, it’s not guns that kill people. I am not a gun lover or card-carrying member of the NRA. In fact, I kinda think that the right to bear arms (forgot which amendment) is antiquated, if one truly reflects on the time and context in which it was ratified.
That said, a person has to have intent to harm in order to turn anything into a weapon. Someones value for life, mental stability, or proclivity for evil can’t be legislated or regulated.

Esquire

December 5th, 2012
8:09 am

Esquire
December 5th, 2012
1:14 am

LOL at the Aints
December 4th, 2012
11:27 pm

can we all agree that Bob Costas is a Idiot.
************************************************************************
No but I’d like to agree that you are.

___________________________________________________
Interestingly enough, that thought crossed my mind but I had not heard yet about the Costas remarks. He’s laughing at the very laughable Caint’s and therefore deserves accolades. I find it so amusing that the inept Caints have fallen from their high almighty soapbox. By the way, speaking of soap, I sure wish the Caints fans would use some every now and then……………YOU STINK. Roddy was right, your town smells like piss.

Mikey

December 5th, 2012
8:29 am

Outstanding comment Marcus. This is a terrible tragedy and our hearts go out to all those who were affected. Politicians and talking heads on TV are often looking for a quick fix and think they have a brilliant idea to prevent pain and suffering for all. It would be nice if we could just outlaw everything sharp, pointed , hard or dangerous and keep people in padded cells so they don’t hurt themselves or others. Unfortunately, they don’t realize that we might suffer more from loss of freedom than from loss of loved ones, as sad as that would be. I don’t have answers either but would suggest that we think a little bit more about how we teach our children to respect others and cope with others on the planet. This seems to be lacking more and more in our society while we try to legislate peace. While parents and teachers are thinking “It’s not my job!” or “I just don’t have time for it!” young Americans are experiencing more social pressures than ever before.

Durwood

December 5th, 2012
9:45 am

I don’t own a gun…..however, if you outlaw weapons, what’s next? Make it illegal to own certain books because the content incites riots? NYC and other locales have made it illegal to purchase 32 oz drinks. So, order 2 X 16 oz drinks…..Let’s bring back prohibition, since alcohol causes so many deaths.

Where does it end? Costas can argue his points, but not from the stage of TV, since not many people can do that. I can’t say certain things in my own job, nor should he, without paying the price. of repercussions.

ylojkt

December 5th, 2012
10:01 am

I’ll agree with you, Aints. Costas is a has been, not worth paying attention to, dum&a*s. Let’s all protect ourselves from ourselves, everyone knows the govt is the only responsible gun owner – NOT!

warfalcon

December 5th, 2012
10:21 am

We all were given free WILL by GOD and it is how we use that free WILL that makes us who we are.LETS GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Reverend Baby Doctor Bedpan

December 5th, 2012
10:45 am

Falcon James
December 4th, 2012
11:28 pm

An unbelievable tragedy. My heart goes out to the families who have to endure this loss and the baby girl. She will be in our prayers.

***************************************************************************************************************

Kind of late for prayers……The parents are dead…..What good will prayers do now? What good do they ever do?

The Reverend Baby Doctor Bedpan

December 5th, 2012
10:48 am

Durwood
December 5th, 2012
9:45 am

I don’t own a gun…..however, if you outlaw weapons, what’s next? Make it illegal to own certain books because the content incites riots? NYC and other locales have made it illegal to purchase 32 oz drinks. So, order 2 X 16 oz drinks…..Let’s bring back prohibition, since alcohol causes so many deaths.

Where does it end? Costas can argue his points, but not from the stage of TV, since not many people can do that. I can’t say certain things in my own job, nor should he, without paying the price. of repercussions.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Did he say outlaw guns? Or is this NRA hyperbole?

Falcon James

December 5th, 2012
11:15 am

The Reverend Baby Doctor Bedpan is a Saint fan.

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Rot in hell Belcher

December 5th, 2012
11:51 am

When OK killed Nicole And Ron, did Costas get on his soapbox for “knife control?”

Exactly.

james

December 5th, 2012
11:52 am

LOL at the Aints, yes I agree, Bob Costas is nothing more than a mindless myrmidon, who was selfishly trying to capture two minutes of fame for himself in the midst of the suffering of the families involved for his own personal agenda. Can the simple-minded Costas not even comprehend the law of unintended consequences? With strict gun control, Belcher would have (a) bludgeoned his girlfriend with a baseball bat, (b) fatally stabbed her several times, (c) poisoned her to death, or (d) simply obtained an illicit firearm on the black market. No measure of gun control was going to save anyone’s life, including Belcher’s. Period. Yet Costas actually believes lives would have been saved! Its certainly not worth sacrificing one of our basic Constitunional rights over speculating whether or whether not people will find other ways to commit murder. But hey, the idiocy of Costas is played out everyday when he looks at himself in the mirror. I mean really, are you going to trust or place any credence in someone who’s had God knows how many Botox treatments, such that his pathetic face doesn’t even move???

Maria

December 5th, 2012
12:26 pm

I can agree – idiot.

True Falcon Fan

December 5th, 2012
12:56 pm

@11:52 Absolutely one of the best post I’ve read in years, very good writing & i strongly agree!

Re: Botox, there’s really another amongst us that surely would disagree with our sentiments. Known as ZERO/JSS – in fact he has a 14D Botox rimmed mouth, that sometimes never stops and always makes NO sense atall! Ah can I get at least one AMEN

Go Falcons — Panthers next

MikeB

December 5th, 2012
12:59 pm

Anyone’s life is full of crossroads and “intersections” of opportunity….irresponsible, immature self indulgent people cross paths with with firearms every day. This is what we have here plain and simple….

When responsible, considerate mature people are in the same situation, the results most of the time are either different or at the very least justifiable…. For the record…. I am a gun owner and have never killed/shot at a living thing with it. Thats not to say I wouldn’t, or are incapable…. Its just that I don’t let situations escalate to that, or I don’t put myself close to situations that could…. Those are the choices people need to be talking about…. Responsibility, appropriat choices and mature problem solving can solve many of todays ill’s without another restricitve invasive law..

Rather have it, and never need it…. Then need it, and not have it…

Falcon James

December 5th, 2012
1:02 pm

Why is everyone trashing Costas? All he did was quote a KC journalist. And a follow up question. I personally think the girl friend should have been armed so she could have at least had a chance to defend herself.

nail in the coffin

December 5th, 2012
7:17 pm

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