Jovan Belcher and Kasandra Perkins

Family members and friends of former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher say debilitating head injuries may have lead to the murder-suicide of Belcher and his girlfriend.

Police say Belcher, 25, unloaded his weapon 9 times into Kasandra Perkins, killing the mother of his infant daughter in their Kansas City home early Saturday.

He then drove about 5 miles to the team’s Arrowhead practice facility, where he turned a different gun on himself in front of his shocked coach and general manager.

Jovan Belcher and Kasandra Perkins

According to a report in the NY Post, Belcher suffered painful migraine headaches caused by “football-related head injuries”. Belcher, who played for the Chiefs from 2009-2012, drank heavily and may have been addicted to painkillers, the Post reports.

He was “a player who had not had a long concussion history,” said Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt on Sunday.

Perkins’ friends are telling the unsanitized version of the relationship between Belcher and Perkins that differs widely from what his friends are saying. There is talk about volatile arguments fueled by Belcher’s drinking, and Belcher staying away from home for extended periods.

“[Belcher] wouldn’t have had a reason to be jealous,” said Deveen Dunson-Rusher, a friend of Perkins, who added “She was here when she could be.

“She always had dinner ready for him. Did laundry. Baby was always cleaned and pampered,” said Rusher.

But Perkins didn’t have dinner ready for Belcher on Friday night. Instead, she and her friends attended a concert by R&B singer Trey Songz in Kansas City. Perkins was late getting home from the concert. She arrived home around 1 a.m., where a furious Belcher waited.

The usual arguments ensued about her partying and lack of attentiveness to the baby. But this time the rancorous arguing ended in tragedy.

Belcher’s mother, Cheryl Shepherd, moved in with the couple to help Perkins with 2-month-old Zoey.

Belcher credited his “hard working” single mother for raising him as best she could without a father figure in his life.

In a 2008 interview he said: “My mother is a hardworking woman. To see her overcome some things and succeed, it makes me look at things and say, ‘this isn’t even hard.'”

But despite his mother pulling double duty as mother and father, she couldn’t make up for the mental toughness that only a man can instill in a boy his age.

Boys learn how to handle their emotions in ways that only a man can teach them. In the absence of a father figure, he could only observe his mother’s highly emotional reactions when she was angry.

That may be why Belcher devoted his adult life to ending violence against women.

While attending the University of Maine on a football scholarship he was a member of Male Athletes Against Violence (MAAV) which describes itself as an ‘effort to involve men so that we can begin to understand that violence is very much a ‘man’s issue.’

MAAV encourages male athletes to wear white ribbons on campus to show solidarity in their stand against violence toward women.

Belcher was outspoken about his respect for women which he inherited from his mother.

But his mother’s courage and intestinal fortitude couldn’t prepare him for the sports groupies, who spread like cancer among the ranks of professional athletes.

Some of them are merciful, leaving the athlete with his manhood intact and his bank account only partially depleted of funds.

But other groupies go for the jackpot: a baby which they use like a sponge to drain a man emotionally and financially.

Shades of Rae Carruth.

The son who grows up without a father will internalize his pain and be consumed by feelings of worthlessness. He “will go through life with abandonment issues. Always waiting for the next person to leave.”

They enter unhealthy relationships, always holding on tighter, “suffocating others, because they are so afraid of someone leaving them.”

She told him she was leaving him and filing for child support that fateful Saturday morning. She’d left him before, taking the baby with her to stay with friends. Maybe it was the tone of her voice or the look in her eyes that convinced him she meant it this time.

Ms. Shpherd, Belcher’s mother, witnessed her son shoot Perkins multiple times. The baby was in another room. Belcher walked out of her life the way his father walked out of his.

He drove to the Arrowhead practice facility and committed suicide in front of his coach and general manager. But before he pulled the trigger, he thanked the men for everything they did for him — everything his own father didn’t do.

Shepherd will now take custody of baby Zoey. She plans to raise Zoey in her West Babylon, NY home where she raised her son as best as she could without a man in his life.

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