Soon after the phone call came that San Francisco 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard‘s brother had been killed in the early hours of Saturday morning, coach Kyle Shanahan rushed to his room in the team hotel hoping to provide some sense of comfort.
There, Beathard was, as Shanahan called it, “distraught” over the devastating news that Clayton Beathard, his 22-year-old brother, had been the victim of a fatal stabbing outside of The Dogwood bar in Nashville, Tennessee.
Shanahan spent the next hour doing all he could to be there for Beathard, holding him and trying in vain to find words of solace.
“There’s not much you can say,” Shanahan said. “You just try to hold a person and be there for him. We tried to figure it out, what we could do and the quickest way to get him to his family. But that was probably my first time in a situation like that, but I think it’s exactly what anybody would expect. There’s nothing to say, and it’s as tragic and as sad of a thing that can happen.
“So to me, when you try to say stuff, you’re just, you’re insulting the situation. It’s as bad as it gets, and you just have to be there for them, and it will be a hard deal to recover from, but he’s as strong as any person I’ve been around.”
As Beathard, 26, left the room to head home and be with his family, he stopped, turned and made a simple request to Shanahan.
“The last thing he said to me … he stopped me and he said, ‘Make sure these guys go win this game,'” Shanahan told the players in the postgame locker room speech posted by the team.
On a night when it looked as if everything was going against them, the 49ers found a way to deliver for the Beathard family, beating the Los Angeles Rams 34-31 on a 33-yard field goal from kicker Robbie Gould as time expired.
In the moments after, the Niners’ locker room overflowed with emotion. Shanahan began his postgame news conference by sending his love to the Beathard family, stopping as his voice caught just a few words in. Tackle Mike McGlinchey found himself moved to tears, as did tight end George Kittle, who has known the Beathard family since his and C.J.’s time together at Iowa.
After the game, Kittle spoke to Beathard before he stepped to the lectern. He began his postgame comments by sending love to the Beathards and noted that Saturday night’s game was the toughest to play of his career.
Kittle said he had known Clayton Beathard for about eight years and called Clayton “kind of a little brother.”
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SOURCE: ESPN, Nick Wagoner