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Photo - Aj Mansour (KFAN)
By: Aj Mansour | KFAN.com
Minneapolis, MN - It wasn't necessarily public knowledge but as we found out this morning, Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield took the field with a very heavy heart on Sunday against the Jaguars. Winfield, who missed practice for undisclosed personal reasons last Thursday, shared that his absence was in lieu of the murder of his younger brother, Anthony Travis.
Anthony Travis, 30 years old, was shot multiple times by an unknown assailant while standing outside a vehicle in Akron, Ohio on the night of Wednesday, September 5th. Travis was pronounced dead later that night at 12:29am.
Respectfully, the team kept the story under wraps until today when both Winfield and coach Leslie Frazier commented on the matter.
"We were real close," Winfield told KFAN's Paul Allen Monday morning. "I would see him every time I went home and he was supposed to come up here [to Minnesota] in a couple games."
Antoine shared that there was no doubt in his mind that returning to work was the right thing for him to do following the tragedy. Upon his return, the entire organization bonded behind him to show their support for one of their coworkers, teammates and friends.
"We have a great group over there," Winfield said Monday. "Especially that locker room. The players, the coaches, the ownership they prayed for me, hit me with their condolences and made it a lot easier."
Only four days after losing his brother, Winfield took to the playing field Sunday to face the Jaguars. He finished the game with a solid performance including four tackles and more importantly for Antoine, a victory for the team.
"I'm doing a lot better," Winfield told KFAN. "A win helps. The guys in the locker room were making me laugh and smile, it made it a lot better."
Head coach Leslie Frazier met the media Monday afternoon and shared his condolences.
"I have so much respect for Antoine," Coach Frazier said Monday. "To experience the loss that he experienced this week and then to come to work, to work as hard as he did, and then to play in the ball game and play as well as he did, I don't know if I could have done that...[He's] a very courageous young man, a very strong young man. I have tremendous respect for him. My heart goes out for he and his family."
A funeral service has been scheduled for Anthony Travis this coming Thursday in Akron, Ohio. Our deepest condolences here at The FAN go out to Antoine and his family.
CLICK HERE to listen to Paul Allen's exclusive interview with Antoine Winfield on KFAN.
Aj Mansour covers Minnesota Sports for KFAN.com. Feel free to leave comments and questions regarding this post in the space provided below. For Vikings' updates and breaking Vikings' news, follow Aj on Twitter. @AjMansourKFAN