At FIU, people are just starting to feel sad about Luke Knox's death.
On a hot Friday morning, Florida International's practice was over, and coach Mike MacIntyre got the team together to talk about the rest of the day. When he was done, there was still one more thing to do. MacIntyre said, "Let's say a prayer." A prayer for the family of Luke. Football started back up at FIU two days after 22-year-old linebacker Luke Knox died in a Miami hospital. Luke Knox was the brother of Buffalo Bills tight end Dawson Knox. The cause of death hasn't been said yet, but police have said they don't think anyone did anything wrong.
MacIntyre has known Knox's family for a long time. He has known Luke Knox's father, David Knox, for over 40 years. MacIntyre went to the same prep school in Tennessee as many of the Knox family, which is called Brentwood Academy.
He was Luke Knox's coach at Mississippi. The fact that MacIntyre took over at FIU after last season was one reason Knox moved there.
MacIntyre and his team spent Thursday off the field grieving, eating pizza and chicken sandwiches, trying to watch a movie, telling stories about Knox, sometimes crying, sometimes laughing, and often hugging. They went back to football on Friday.
MacIntyre said, "There's no perfect way to do it, but you have to love the kids, be with them, and listen to what they say." "As I told each of them, and as our coaches told us many times, everyone grieves in their own way. You never know when it will happen. So, we let our kids say "I want to practice" or "I don't want to practice," and I think they did the best they could with it.
On Friday, most of the players chose to practice. Some asked to leave and spent their time with counselors and psychologists instead.
Luke Knox was not moving when a teammate found him in his dorm room on Wednesday night. When the police arrived, they did CPR, and when county rescue workers came to take Knox to a nearby hospital, they took over.
MacIntyre stayed there for hours, hoping for a miracle to happen. Then, in the early hours of Thursday, he went to the airport to pick up Knox's parents.
MacIntyre said, "We're working through this right now."
At Georgia Tech in the late 1980s, he had to deal with a similar situation when one of his teammates, tight end Chris Caudle, drowned in a boating accident. MacIntyre also said that other coaches who had lost a player had been calling him.
Knox's coach at Ole Miss, Lane Kiffin, said he was glad to have known him.
"That kid is really cool," Kiffin said. "Got to talk to him a lot one-on-one. I'm happy about that. You don't always get to because there are so many players. Just took place with him. It's a very bad thing.... He changed the lives of many people. Probably more than he thought, and you can tell because so many people are hurt."
Some of the bad has come out of it.
During his time with the Buffalo Bills, Dawson Knox has helped raise money for the P.U.N.T. Pediatric Cancer Collaborative. After the news of Luke Knox's death spread, the organization got more than $100,000 in donations in about 24 hours.
Most of these donations were exactly $16.88. Luke Knox's jersey number at FIU was 16, and Dawson Knox's number with the Bills was 88.
Dawson Knox said Friday night that his brother's funeral will be held in Tennessee on Saturday. He also said that his family is thankful for all the love and support they have received." FIU is also deciding how to honor Knox during this season. MacIntyre said he would mostly leave that up to the team leaders.
Friday, after the prayer at the end of practice, they said the first of many things to honor him. "1, 2, 3, Luke" was their last chant as they broke the circle.
MacIntyre said, "I thought that was a great answer."
When he said that, he could no longer stop himself from crying.