Jovan Belcher cut hand while punching window during freshman year at UMaine

Davd Eulitt, McClatchy-Tribune

In this Sept. 9, 2012, file photo, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher is shown during an NFL game against the Atlanta Falcons.

ORONO, Maine — Jovan Belcher suffered a cut on his hand when he punched a window during his freshman year at the University of Maine, according to a former teammate.

University officials were preparing to release a statement regarding the incident Monday afternoon. No charges were filed in the 2006 incident, which occurred because Belcher was upset over a woman.

Belcher, 25, made national headlines Saturday when he fatally shot his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, then later committed suicide with a handgun in Kansas City. He was in his fourth season as a linebacker for the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs.

One of Belcher’s former teammates, Mike Brusko, also played for the Black Bears from 2005-2008. He confirmed Belcher was involved in an incident during which he suffered a cut on his hand.

“He had an incident where he did do that,” said a reluctant Brusko, who said he is still reeling from the news about Belcher’s murder-suicide.

“I have at least two or three other friends who have done exactly the same thing,” he added. “I know all of them and I would only have ever attributed that to a bad decision that was influenced by alcohol.”

Brusko said the situation, which stemmed from what he termed immaturity and some intoxication, occurred during their freshman season (2005-06).

“He wasn’t the only person drinking that night,” he added. “I’ve made a hundred decisions like that that I’d like to take back. Nobody ever would have taken that incident and turned it into some sort of foreshadowing of what he would [ultimately] do.”

At UMaine, Belcher took part in a for-credit class called Male Athletes Against Violence during the fall semester in 2007, according to a statement that was issued by the university in response to a request for an interview with Dr. Sandra L. Caron, professor of family relations and human sexuality.

“MAAV is an effort to involve men so that we can begin to understand that violence is very much a ‘man’s issue,’” the statement said.

The project, founded in the fall of 2004 by Caron, is modeled after her nationally recognized peer education program, Athletes for Sexual Responsibility.

The university statement said the students who enroll are typically varsity athletes.

“The students are involved in peer education efforts on campus that focus on issues of masculinity and violence,” the statement read. “The group often sponsors information tables to raise awareness and encourage college-age men to sign the Male Athletes Against Violence pledge card.”

When asked about Belcher’s participation in the class, UMaine issued the following statement on Caron’s behalf.

“This is a tragedy beyond comprehension and completely at odds with what the Male Athletes Against Violence peer education program stands for,” Caron said. “Our deepest

sympathies are with Jovan and Kasandra’s loved ones.”

At UMaine, Belcher earned a degree in child development and family relations in 2009 and completed his academic course work in 3½ years, according to head football coach Jack Cosgrove.

During his time in Orono, he also participated in the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization in Greater Bangor. In that capacity, Belcher spent time with some local youths who were in need of a male role model.

“I often saw Jovan with underprivileged kids,” Brusko said. “I can remember him bringing kids around the football facility and showing them around and being a mentor to them.”

Belcher, a three-time, All-America wrestler from West Babylon, N.Y., went largely unrecruited for football but signed to play at UMaine.

As a senior in 2008, Belcher was named the Colonial Athletic Association Defensive Player of the Year and was selected as a consensus first-team All-American. He signed a free-agent contract with the Chiefs in 2009.

In March, he signed a one-year contract worth $1.9 million, according to published reports.

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David  Cote's picture

A long, long way to connect dots...

So what are we led to believe? That Jovan Belcher was a threatening volcano of emotiins waiting to erupt and the incident described in this story was the warning siren? Really? So let me ask the writer what he must think of Patriots defensive back Aqib Talib. All he's done is resist arrest, assulted a teammate, assulted a cabbie and was arrested for aggrivated assult with a deadly weapon for firing a gun at his sister's boyfriend. Given you found a need to somehow connect a minor college incident from several years ago to a murder suicide I ca only imagine your perception of what a Talib eruption could be like. Better yet, keep it to yourself. Wouldn't want some loose cannon that got caught shoplifting a candy bar when he was nine years old any inspirational ideas.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

"That Jovan Belcher was a

"That Jovan Belcher was a threatening volcano of emotiins (sic) waiting to erupt and the incident described in this story was a warning siren?"
I agree with just about everything in your post, David, including the Aqib Talib analogy. One thing that troubles me, though, is that I heard in one report on Monday that Belcher had fired 9 shots at Ms. Perkins. Could it be that the "threatening volcano" had, indeed, erupted?

David  Cote's picture

Good point, Pirate

Hooefully the autopsy will answer that question. As an NFL starting linebacker Belcher certainly had been exposed to a number of hits to the head, and though he chose to end his life in the manner he chose, forensic science can still conduct tests on his brain in order to find out if his brain had CTE damage. Unfortunately, we've seen it before (Dave Duereson for example). And though Belcher was young, he may have taken that one solid hit to his head that set in motion what eventually happened. I understand speculation on the manner can be dangerous and I am, in no way an expert on the subject, but my common sense tells me it's a far reach to relate what Belcher did in college as a harbinger to what led to the events this past Saturday morning. Now if further investigations uncover other instances similar, or worse than the college incident then I'll change my train of thought. We'll see where this investigation leads to.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

A tragic event by any

A tragic event by any definition.

The Pirate's been watching pro football on TV since 1959. If the current evolution regarding rules and injuries continues on its present path, it isn't difficult to imagine pro football becoming a non-contact sport, which of course, will result in its extinction.


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