C.J. Spiller is taking a leave of absence from the Buffalo Bills to be with his family after the suicide of his step grandfather, Hubert Allen Jr.
The 72-year-old Allen shot a former co-worker before driving to the home of his former boss and killing him, police say. Allen is then accused of shooting another former co-worker before turning the gun on himself.
Allen married C.J. Spiller’s maternal grandmother, who died when the NFL player was in eighth grade.
Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone said Spiller was allowed to leave to the team for the rest of the week to be with his family.
“I talked to him when we landed from the Washington game,” Marrone told CBSSports. “I obviously excused him to be able to go back and handle obviously what is a personal situation. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims as well as C.J. and his family in this situation….We’re in communication just making sure that we’re there to support him.”
The Buffalo Bills were also impacted by a tragedy last season. The brother of first-round pick Marcel Dareus was killed in a triple homicide in Alabama, and though Dareus did not miss any games the murder affected his play. Dareus and brother Simeon Gilmore were largely on their own growing up, with Dareus playing a fatherly role to his younger brother.
Spiller is expected to miss the team’s final preseason game during his leave from the Bills, but would likely have only played one series at most. He leaves a team that has been devastated by injuries, with a potential career-ending injury to quarterback Kevin Kolb and uncertainty of first-round pick E.J. Manuel, who underwent a minor surgical procedure to alleviate swelling in his knee.
C.J. Spiller led the team last season with 1,244 rushing yards and six touchdowns, adding another 459 yards and two touchdowns receiving. He is expected to rejoin the team on Sunday.