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Tony Richardson knows what people are thinking right now: Why would Jovan Belcher do this?

The popular former Kansas City Chiefs fullback, who played 11 seasons for the franchise, also was in "total shock'' after hearing the news Saturday morning that the 25-year-old linebacker killed his girlfriend then committed suicide at the team's practice facility.

"People think how can a young man with the world in front of him, making good money and playing on a national stage, do something like that?,'' Richardson told USA TODAY Sports. "But you just don't understand the mental state of what some people are dealing with. It's sad.''

FOLLOW THE STORY: Updates on Jovan Belcher suicide

REACTION: "Family was paramount for Jovan"

Richardson played for the Chiefs from 1995 to 2005. He finished his career with the New York Jets but still owns a home in Kansas City.

"In a small-market (city), people really love their Chiefs' players,'' he said. "They know everything about every player. It's a big family and a very close-knit community. This was a young man people followed and cheered for. It's devastating.''

Police say a 25-year-old Kansas City Chiefs player was involved in two shootings Saturday, one of which occurred in the parking lot near Arrowhead Stadium. (Dec. 1)

Rich Gannon, a CBS analyst and former Chiefs quarterback, told USA TODAY Sports "it has been a difficult year for everybody there'' with the team's on-the-field struggles.

"You feel terrible for the victim, for (Belcher), the families, the team, for (Chiefs coach) Romeo (Crennel), (general manager) Scott (Pioli) and (owner) Clark Hunt,'' Gannon said. "What else can you say? It's just a sad (day).''

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