The deaths of Chiefs player Jovan Belcher and his girlfriend on Saturday morning are the latest of a series of recent tragedies for the NFL and its former players.
-In May, former Chargers great Junior Seau committed suicide by a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. He was 43 years old.
-In April, former Atlanta Falcons safety Ray Easterling died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his home in Richmond, Va. Easterling was one of seven players who sued the NFL in 2011, charging that the league did not properly inform or protect its players from head injuries. The NFL has denied that it tried to conceal any information regarding concussions and player safety.
-In July, Tennessee Titans wide receiver OJ Murdock also committed suicide by gunshot after leaving regretful messages for former coaches and sportswriters.
-This follows 2011's suicide of former Chicago Bears safety Dave Duerson, who, like Seau, shot himself in the chest. Prior to his death, Duerson had made arrangements to donate his brain to a Boston hospital for study.
While the similarity between these events is troubling, it is both premature and irresponsible to draw any kind of immediate link between these deaths and any of the NFL's practices or procedures. For now, the Kansas City story is the latest in an ever-more-tragic year for the NFL.