UMaine stunned to learn of Belcher's murder-suicide

Posted: 12/01/12 at 10:25 pm EST      Last Updated: 12/02/12 at 5:14 pm EST

UNDATED (WHDH) -- The tragedy in Kansas City is being felt right here in New England. Jovan Belcher grew up on Long Island, but played his college career at the University of Maine.

The news of his death and what he's accused of is sending shockwaves through generations of the Blackbear football program, leaving former coaches and teammates stunned.

"It’s just, so surprising to wake up on a Saturday morning and hear that. It hurts the Maine football family,” said Warren Smith, Belcher’s former UMaine teammate.

Former players all said they never anticipated this from a very hardworking and dedicated player who graduated from UMaine in three and a half years.

"For your shortcomings, and the things God didn't give you, you can make up for with hard work. And he exemplified that. And he lived by that, and that's how he made it to the NFL, that's how he made it through college. That's how he earned his degree. So it's a shame for him to go out like this after so many good things that he did leading up to this incident,” said former teammate, Raibonne Charles.

Belcher was never recruited to play college football, but instead was a wrestler.

Coaches took a chance on him as a freshman. He gradually earned a spot, and by the time he was a senior, he was captain and an All-American.

"I’m hard pressed to find or recall a young man who had more of an impact in a positive way on his teammates and football family in my time here. I mean he's truly one of the great stories in the program's history,” said Jack Cosgrove, UMaine head coach.

"We’re going to hold onto the great memories we have of Jovan and uhh... Just try to promote the things he really was able to do here in terms of his commitment, his dedication and his work ethic and pride and performance,” said Cosgrove.

We still do not know much about Belcher's girlfriend, 22-year-old Kasandra Perkins.

The couple had a baby girl together on September 11. Tonight she is in the care of her grandmother and Perkins’ family is not commenting.

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