The Kansas City Chiefs are rallying around long snapper James Winchester, whose father was killed by a former Southwest Airlines employee outside of an Oklahoma City airport.
Police say a former Southwest Airlines worker shot and killed Michael Winchester on Tuesday in retaliation for something that contributed to the attacker quitting his job with the airline last year. The attacker then killed himself.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Wednesday that James Winchester, who like his father played college football at Oklahoma, has returned to the state to be with his family.
Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said James Winchester had to do whatever he needed to do even if that meant leaving the team to spend time with his family.
"That's where he needs to be," Reid said.
Without James Winchester, the rest of the Chiefs practiced Wednesday but not without heavy hearts.
"James is just such a caring and understanding teammate and a guy that would sacrifice for his team. You feel for him and you don’t always know what to do or say. You know trying to be there for him as he works through this. It's hard, it’s hard," quarterback Alex Smith said.
A lot of the players said they reached out to James Winchester through text messages and sent condolences.
Smith calls the locker room a "brotherhood" and no one in the locker room spends more time with James Winchester than punter Dustin Colquitt.
"It's an unbelievable amount of time and we get to know each others life stories during the first week of training camp. We are like brothers and it doesn’t take a tragedy to show that. We are here for each other during the good times and the bad times, we are family," Colquitt said.
Colquitt said James Winchester is a man of faith and handling the situation as well as he can.
Reid didn't rule out James Winchester playing against the Buccaneers on Sunday but did say the team has backup options if he can't make it back to Kansas City in time.
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