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People stand by a small shrine outside the Long Island home of Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher on Monday. (AP Photo)

Wife of former Seahawk says NFL life is lonely, depressing

The family of the woman shot and killed by Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher said Monday their "hearts are truly broken."

Belcher shot and killed his 22-year-old girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, at their Kansas City home Saturday before driving to Arrowhead Stadium, where Belcher committed suicide. The couple had a 3-month-old daughter, Zoey.

The wife of former defensive tackle for the Seahawks, Craig Terrill, tells Dori Monson she teared up when she heard about Belcher.

"I was sad for NFL marriages and relationships and that darkness that plagues so many of them that I knew about from my research inside the NFL," said Rachel Terrill.

In an incident report released Monday, police said officers were called to the home of Belcher, 25, and Perkins about 7:50 a.m. Saturday. Police found Perkins on the floor of the master bathroom. The report said she died from apparent gunshot wounds, but did not say how many times she had been shot.

Terrill said it's easy to think about how a guy who makes millions of dollars could do something so senseless and incomprehensible, but it's harder for fans to imagine what's underneath the 'superhero' facade and how lonely these players are off the field.

"People think that 'oh they must have plenty of friends to hang out with the people that they confide in.' The truth is they don't," says Terrill. "The NFL owns them and they do what their coaches say and the coaches are doing what the owners say. By the time it trickles down, they have little left for their family and their relationships."

Of her own relationship, Terrill says she's madly in love with her husband, but she says they definitely suffered in their first year of marriage.

"Especially for me and other NFL wives in that first and second year in the league, it's really tough because you are so isolated away from everybody else that you've known."

After shooting his girlfriend, Belcher drove to the stadium where he was met by general manager Scott Pioli and coach Romeo Crennel Belcher. He thanked them for all they'd done for him.

"As (officers) approached, a subject later identified as Jovan Belcher, observed their presence and moved to an area behind a vehicle," the report said. "From that position Belcher shot himself one time in the head." Belcher was taken to a hospital, where he died, the report said.

To be able to play on that level, Terrill says a truly consumed NFL player gives everything he has and he might believe the game is more meaningful than anything else.

"Belcher probably believed that the NFL had given him everything he had, but the reality is, it probably took away a lot of what mattered and may have been a part of the tragedy," Terrill says.

In the end, Terrill says, it doesn't matter what kind of life the NFL can offer. All of us, even the superheroes, are capable of yearning for something better, leaving us feeling like we're not quite enough.

MyNorthwest.com Editor Jamie Griswold and the Associated Press contributed to this story.

Stephanie Klein, MyNorthwest.com Editor
Stephanie joined the MyNorthwest.com team in February 2008. She has built the site into a two-time National Edward R. Murrow Award winner (Best Radio Website 2010, 2012).
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