I only knew the Jovan Belcher who started for the Chiefs for two and a half years.
Who was Jovan Belcher?
I've covered the Chiefs for five years and I still can't answer that question very well.
Today, everyone knows Jovan Belcher as the Chiefs player who killed his girlfriend and then himself at the team's practice facility.
But before today, Chiefs fans knew Belcher as their starting inside linebacker. He was a quiet guy. In my time covering the Chiefs, he wasn't a guy I regularly approached in the locker room after the game. He wasn't quoted in the papers very often. He wasn't usually the one making a game-changing play.
Belcher was never meant to stick with the Chiefs. He was one of GM Scott Pioli's first undrafted free agents after the 2009 NFL Draft. Undersized linebackers out of Maine generally don't work out in the NFL.
But Belcher did. He became a starter in just his second season in Kansas City. He started 15 games in the Chiefs' division-winning 2010 season, and all 16 games last season. He played in every game this season.
His last NFL game came against Peyton Manning and the Broncos last week. He comes out of the lineup in the Chiefs' sub defense -- and the Chiefs almost exclusively played in their sub defense against Manning -- so he played only three snaps last week, his last NFL game.
Belcher is the classic "last guy you'd ever expect" in a situation like this, not that you'd ever expect a situation like this.
That's who Belcher used to be. Unfortunately for his family, Kasandra Perkins' family and the Chiefs, most people won't remember that Jovan Belcher.