Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Brandon Siler made his first start since 2010 and made the defensive calls in place of starter Jovan Belcher, who was involved in a murder-suicide on Saturday. (Photo by The Associated Press)

Brandon Siler was hoping he’d get his chance with the Chiefs, but not like this.

The tragic news of Jovan Belcher’s murder-suicide hit Siler harder than most. Belcher, the team’s starting middle linebacker, and Siler, his backup, were friends and sat next to each other during daily meetings.

Siler spent this past Saturday mourning the death of his teammate after it became public that Belcher shot Kasandra Perkins, his girlfriend and the mother of their three-month old daughter, and then took his life at the team’s practice facility in the presence of coaches and general manager Scott Pioli.

According to the Kansas City Star, Siler knew Perkins as well and saw her at the Trey Songz concert at The Midland on Friday night. An argument between the couple after Perkins returned from the concert precipitated the shooting.

“It’s one of the first things you do, think if I could have done something,” Siler told the Star. “I went through it a hundred times in my mind, and I couldn’t think of anything.

“There are a lot of what-ifs. It drives you crazy. You have to cope with it and deal with it. It’s real, and it happened.”

With images of those events firmly ingrained in his mind, Siler had less than 24 hours to push them aside and make the defensive calls for the Chiefs the next day against the Panthers. The former Gator linebacker, who missed 2011 due to a torn Achilles tendon, was making his first start since 2010 when he was a member of the San Diego Chargers.

Siler was credited with two tackles as Kansas City ended an eight-game losing streak behind an inspired 27-21 win over Carolina at Arrowhead Stadium.

Despite national dialogue pushing for the game to be canceled, the game was played as scheduled. According to the New York Post, Siler said he was glad it wasn’t, because Belcher “would have wanted it that way.”

Belcher’s teammates said they would establish a foundation for his orphaned child.

“All I know is there are two families out there, and there’s a little baby girl out there who is going to get my prayers every day for the rest of my life,” Siler said. “That’s what’s really important to me.”

SUNDAY STANDOUTS
Reggie Nelson, Carlos Dunlap
Bengals cornerback Reggie Nelson sealed the team’s 20-13 win over the Chargers on Sunday by intercepting quarterback Philip Rivers’ fourth-and-10 pass in the end zone. San Diego had marched down to the Cincinnati 17-yard line with a chance to tie the game.

Nelson finished with six tackles, one tackle for loss and one pass defense to go with the pick.

Meanwhile, defensive end Carlos Dunlap had two sacks, two tackles for loss and a pass defense.

Janoris Jenkins
The Rams’ cornerback scooped up a fumble and rolled into the end zone from two yards out to give St. Louis its only touchdown in a 16-13 overtime win over San Francisco. Jenkins also had five tackles.