Untimely deaths seen before

The apparent murder-suicide of Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher, 25, is one of a series of untimely deaths for current or former NFL players in recent years:

  • In July 2012, Tennessee Titans receiver O.J. Murdock, 25, was found in his car in front of his Florida high school with what appeared to be self-inflicted gunshot wounds.
  • In May 2012, Junior Seau, 43, shot himself in the chest at his home, less than 21/2; years after ending his Pro Bowl career as a linebacker. His family has donated some of his brain tissue for research amid questions about whether any damage from his 20-year football career played a factor in his suicide.
  • In April 2012, former Atlanta Falcons safety Ray Easterling, 62, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. An autopsy report found he had a degenerative brain disease associated with repeated concussions. Easterling played from 1972 to 1979 as a member of Atlanta's "Gritz Blitz" defense. After his career, he dealt with dementia, depression and insomnia, according to his widow.
  • In February 2011, two-time Super Bowl champion Dave Duerson, 50, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest at his home in Florida. Duerson had at least 10 concussions in his NFL career, according to his family, and lost consciousness during some.
  • In September 2010, Denver Broncos wide receiver Kenny McKinley, 23, shot himself at his home not far from the team's training complex. He was recovering from a second knee operation in eight months and, according to a probe of his death, was deep in debt.
  • In December 2009, Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry, 26, died from a fractured skull and other head injuries a day after tumbling out of the back of a pickup truck driven by his fiancee.
  • In July 2009, Steve McNair, 36, the quarterback and 2003 NFL co-MVP who spent most of his career with the Tennessee Titans, was shot to death by his mistress, who then killed herself.
  • In February 2009, Oakland Raiders linebacker Marquis Cooper, 26; free-agent NFL defensive lineman Corey Smith, 29; and former University of South Florida football player William Bleakley, 25, died when their boat overturned in rough water off the coast of Florida.
  • In November 2007, Washington Redskins Pro Bowl safety Sean Taylor, 24, bled to death after he was shot in the thigh during a botched robbery at his Florida home. Police said the group of robbers did not expect Taylor to be home because the Redskins had a game that weekend — but he was out with an injury.
  • In March 2007, Denver Broncos running back Damien Nash, 24, collapsed and died of a heart attack after he played in a charity basketball game to raise funds for his heart foundation.
  • In the early hours of New Year's Day 2007, Denver cornerback Darrent Williams, 24, died after being shot followed by a confrontation between Broncos players and gang members at a nightclub.


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