The three members of the Kansas City Chiefs who witnessed the Jovan Belcher tragedy and others will receive mandatory counseling, according to a report from Lindsay Jones of USA TODAY Sports. Those would be GM Scott Pioli, head coach Romeo Crennel and linebackers coach/defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs.
Troy Vincent, the NFL's VP of player engagement, tells Jones that initial stages of counseling for a small group of Chiefs will continue through Mondaoy, and then follow-up sessions will continue for three months (or longer if needed).
"We're always going to say 'I'm OK, I'm good.' That's us. Especially inside of this space, from a coaching standpoint or a player standpoint, it's, 'I'm good.' No, we're not good," Vincent said. "Witnessing that kind of event is horrific. It's not about closing the door, not about being the gladiator, the tough, immortal football player that we've always developed into being. This is serious. This is a mental, visual image that we need to talk through, and this is OK."
I grew up in a family where things like counseling weren't seen as a weakness. (it's not.) It wasn't until I was a little older that I realized that's a little unusual. There's still a certain stigma attached to counseling and professional services and things like that, so I'm glad that the NFL is making this mandatory for those people.
I was talking to 610 Sports' Danny Parkins about this other day: when someone in your family dies, it makes it easier to handle that all your family comes in town and you're busy while you make funeral arrangements. The same sorta dynamic is at play with the Chiefs -- Crennel, Pioli and Gibbs can stay busy because the Chiefs are in the middle of the season. But what's really hard is sometime down the road, when everyone is gone and things are supposed to return to normal.
And the problem is that there is no more normal in Kansas City right now.