Antoine Winfield struggled to come up with the words to describe what it’s been like in the nine days since his younger brother was murdered.
The Minnesota Vikings cornerback played in the season opener last weekend, four days after learning of the death of 30-year-old Anthony Travis. And when the Vikings take the field against the Colts in Indianapolis on Sunday, he will be playing just three days after attending his brother’s funeral.
Winfield returned to practice on Friday, one day after flying to his hometown of Akron, Ohio for the services of Travis, who had two daughters.
“That was tough, probably one of the toughest days of my life,” Winfield said. “Going to bury my younger brother was a very difficult situation.”
Winfield has been leaning on his teammates and the organization for support through these trying times and said he has been using football as his escape. Vikings GM Rick Spielman attended the funeral, and players and coaches have showered Winfield with support.
“I don’t want to say it was easy because it wasn’t at all,” Winfield said. “But it helped just being around the guys. Trying to keep a smile on my face and try to take my mind off of it. But during the game Sunday, I thought about it a little bit at the beginning. But once (I was) on the field, I totally concentrated on football.”
Around the league
Safeties Madieu Williams of Washington, Taylor Mays of Cincinnati and Rahim Moore of Denver were fined $21,000 each for unnecessary roughness. … Panthers coach Ron Rivera expects injured wide receiver Steve Smith and running back Jonathan Stewart will play Sunday. … Darrelle Revis has been ruled out for the Jets’ game at Pittsburgh with a concussion. … Steelers safety Troy Polamalu and linebacker James Harrison did not practice and are questionable. … Arizona quarterback John Skelton is listed as doubtful. … Miami Dolphins running back Daniel Thomas has been ruled out. … The Bengals’ LB Thomas Howard was placed on injured reserve after tearing his ACL during practice on Thursday.