Willie Gay Jr. Suspension Hasn’t Stopped the Chiefs From Keeping Tabs on Him

Willie Gay Jr., a linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs, was banned for four weeks by the NFL on Monday. Neither the team nor the player is usually surprised by these suspensions.

Most of the time, the NFL will warn both sides that something like this could happen. At a press conference on Wednesday, head coach Andy Reid confirmed that this is what had happened.

“We had an idea that something was going to happen,” said Reid. “So we tried to prepare for it the best we can — just in case it did.”

Gay has kicked off the team because he and the mother of his child got into a fight off the field in January. Gay was charged with a misdemeanor for damage to property worth less than $1,000.

Willie Gay Jr. has talked about how his teammates have helped him deal with his mental health problems, which he first talked about last fall, and that his son was born 16 weeks early. Gay’s teammates say they’ve reached out to him again to cheer him up.

“I’ve been checking in on him as a person (and) as a father,” fellow linebacker Nick Bolton told media on Wednesday, ”making sure he keeps his head up and we’re going to keep moving forward.”

Bolton also said that Gay, who is known as “Juice Man,” asked him to pass along a message to the rest of the team. “He wants to go out there and execute and have fun,” said Bolton, “and he wants to see his juice flow through us.”

“Obviously, the whole situation was a bad situation that we don’t want to happen,” stated quarterback Patrick Mahomes, “but at the same time, we love Willie as a guy — and we want him to come back in and still be a great part of this team.”

In recent years, the Chiefs have taken steps to improve the mental health of their players. In June 2019, they hired Dr. Shaun Tyrance to be the team’s counsellor and doctor. Reid said that both he and the linebacker Brendan Daly have talked to the player, and that Gay has also talked to the person everyone calls “Dr. T.”

“The league’s very sensitive to issues off the field,” noted Reid. “They’re also sensitive to the mental health part of it. So Willie and I had a nice visit — and we’ve got Dr. T. here. So Dr. T has talked to him and his position coach had talked to him.”

 

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“He seems to be in a good place that way right now. He loves to play the game. It’ll be a long four weeks there for him. He’s allowed to come back [to the practise facility] here after two weeks, so we’ll have him right here. But I think he’s in as good of a place he can be for that.”

Gay thought things would go better for him this season back in June. “I just pray this year will be a good year,” he said. “I know adversity will come, but I just gotta fight through it — now more than ever.”

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