Derrick Johnson remembers Jovan Belcher, a 'perfect teammate'

Jamie Squire

Derrick Johnson remembers the linebacker who lined up next to him for four years.

The way most Chiefs games work is that after it's over the head coach and the starting quarterback speak at a separate podium while the rest of the players talk to the media in the locker room.

After today's game, the Chiefs also sent Derrick Johnson to the podium, which I thought was fitting. One of the most tenured Chiefs, and one of the best spokesmen on the team, DJ shared his feelings on the tragic events of the last 36 hours. He talked the way DJ talks, which is quietly at times but also thoughtfully. He called Jovan Belcher a "perfect teammate" and talked about him on the field. He recognized the grief each family is going through.

I think about how I feel, how much this has impacted me. Then I think about the guys who spent every day with him, like DJ. And then had to bottle all that up and play a game on Sunday.

I thought DJ did a good job expressing how he was feeling after today's game.


More: Jovan Belcher's locker | Photos | Clark Hunt interview


How did you handle it?

"It was tough. It really hit me this morning, waking up. Not being able to talk to Jovan. Being the middle backer, the heart of this defense, that's who I talk to all the time. It was kind of tough. It hit me going to the stadium, really emotional going to the stadium this morning. I knew we had to pull together. He's a strong-minded guy so I knew he would want us to pull together and get a win."

Did you want to play?

"We wanted to play the game. We're football players. We love the game of football. When something happens like this, what we're going to be doing is sitting around for three or four hours while we're supposed to be playing just thinking about the tragedy that went on. This is a tough deal. It's going to take time. It's not a one day deal."

Did you see any signs?

"Not at all. Didn't see any kind of clues. Jovan, man, Jovan is probably the definition of a teammate. He's on time all the time, he's going to give 100 perent all the time, he's the most consistent player I've played with. He and I had grown really close while he had been on the team for four years. This is devastating. I was once told that the hardest thing a person can go through is burying a child so for both families, Kasandra and Jovan's family, my heart goes out to them. You can't imagine what they're going through right now. As a team, we lost a brother. It's tough. It's going to take time. We're going to mourn for a little bit. Life goes on but we lost a good one, we lost a good one."

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