NFL, teams offer array of assistance options to players - KCTV5

NFL, teams offer array of assistance options to players

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The Kansas City Chiefs were providing financial and relationship assistance to linebacker Jovan Belcher and his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins.

The NFL allows players to pay for a special transportation service that gets them and their vehicles home safely. The Dallas Cowboys have their own special additional transportation service.

But those programs didn't stop Jovan Belcher from pumping at least nine bullets into Perkins' body before he took his own life at Arrowhead Stadium. It didn't stop Dallas Cowboys player Josh Brent from allegedly driving drunk, leading to the death of a teammate.

The teams are providing counseling to players who need it.

Former Chiefs wide receiver Danan Hughes said he expects and hopes more players will take advantage of the services in the wake of these tragedies.

"I kind of anticipate that in this off season when the season is kind of settled down and they have time to kind of clear their minds that you will see an influx not just with the Cowboys and Chiefs, but throughout the NFL of guys seeking the necessary help," Hughes said.

He said NFL players are tough men who try not to show any weakness. This means they want to make it appear to the world that they have a perfect life. And that means sometimes they are hesitant to ask for help even for substance abuse or other issues.

"A lot of players think that is part of the establishment, the organization and that I can't really tell them everything because they will know all my business and they may hold it against me in negotiations," Hughes said.

Some like Chiefs offensive lineman Eric Winston said education is important. He said some players in their early 20s may be millionaires, but "aren't adults yet."

Both Hughes, Winston and others say players need true friends and mentors who can see them through tough times.

"And step out and put their arm around them," Hughes said.

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