By WILL JAMES, STU WOO and KEVIN HELLIKER
KANSAS CITY, Mo.—The Kansas City Chiefs took to the field the day after police said linebacker Jovan Belcher fatally shot his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, then killed himself. Friends of the couple said that even though the two had been fighting, and Mr. Belcher had begun to collect guns, they hadn't seen any hints of the violence to come.
The team, which played the Carolina Panthers Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium here, held a moment of silence for victims of domestic violence but didn't mention Mr. Belcher or Ms. Perkins.
After the game, which Kansas City won, 27-21, Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel, who witnessed Mr. Belcher's suicide in the parking lot of the team's complex Saturday, said he didn't want to answer questions about what he witnessed, since "it wasn't a pretty sight."
Mr. Crennel described Mr. Belcher, 25 years old, as a hard worker, a good teammate and a player who was "always in the front of the room."
Kansas City police spokesman Darin Snapp didn't provide any updates on the case Sunday. He said an autopsy result should be ready by the middle of the week.
A childhood friend, Alton Lucas, 25 years old, who played football and wrestled alongside Mr. Belcher at West Babylon Senior High School in New York, said the two men had remained close friends. Mr. Lucas said that Mr. Belcher, Ms. Perkins, 22, and their newborn baby, Zoey, had visited about a month ago and seemed happy.
"This is so surreal," he said. "I never thought I would be having this conversation about him."
Mr. Belcher bought several guns during his NFL career, Mr. Lucas said. While this worried him, Mr. Lucas said he didn't think too much of it. He said he didn't know how many guns Mr. Belcher had or what kinds.
"The kid never took steroids," Mr. Lucas said. "He took supplements, but that's not going to make you crazy."
Mr. Lucas said in high school, when the two friends played for the West Babylon Eagles, Mr. Belcher was soft-spoken and kind, but fiercely competitive. Back then, Mr. Lucas said, Mr. Belcher liked to stay home and was meticulously neat and conscientious. His relationships with women lasted years, he said.
"He was so kind-hearted; he never wanted anyone to think bad of him," he said.
Mr. Lucas said that Mr. Belcher had had a serious relationship at the University of Maine with a student named Jessica Higgins, whom he had wanted to marry, though the relationship ended before he joined the NFL.
Over the weekend, on what appear to be Ms. Higgins's Twitter and Facebook accounts, photographs and reminiscences of Mr. Belcher were posted. One post showed a photo titled, "Jovan & Jessica," with the inscription: "You know it's love when forever is not long enough."
Ms. Higgins did not respond to messages. Reached at home in Maine Sunday evening, her grandmother confirmed that Ms. Higgins knew Mr. Belcher.
A person who answered the telephone at Ms. Perkins's family home in Austin, Texas, said the family wasn't speaking to reporters.
Monica Phillips, a friend of Ms. Perkins's from Austin, said she had spoken to Ms. Perkins three days before her death and the two had talked about their children. Ms. Perkins, who was the godmother of Ms. Phillips's two daughters, didn't hint at any family problems.
"It all seemed so perfect," she said.
During a visit to Austin a couple of months ago, Ms. Phillips said, Ms. Perkins brought Zoey. Ms. Phillips said she met Mr. Belcher only once, briefly.
"He seemed like a gentleman," she said.
Chiefs fans had planned to wear black to protest the team's pitiful performance this season—but in the stands, many of them wore red, a team color, instead. Chiefs quarterback Brady Quinn said that when he got to the stadium he tried to not look at Mr. Belcher's locker. It was still filled with his belongings.
Police said Mr. Belcher's mother, who recently moved from New York to Kansas City to be with her son and Ms. Perkins, called police at about 7:50 a.m. local time Saturday to tell them that her son had shot Ms. Perkins.
According to police, Mr. Belcher drove to the team's practice facility to talk with team General Manager Scott Pioli and Mr. Crennel and thanked them for his time with the Chiefs. Mr. Belcher then allegedly walked 20 or 30 feet and shot himself in the head, just after police arrived.—Kevin Clark and Sara Germano contributed to this article.