It was like a gravitational pull, a tug of the heartstrings that Casey Hayward felt all the way from Macon, Ga., where the Chargers All-Pro cornerback spent four days last week tending to his family after his younger brother, JeCavesia, died in a car accident late Monday night. Did Hayward toy with the idea of not returning for Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns? “Oh, for sure,” he said. But there was Hayward, flying around the StubHub Center field, playing every defensive snap and putting the clamp down on highly touted Browns receiver Josh Gordon to lead another stout defensive effort in a 19-10 Chargers victory. “I’m better when I’m out here, when I’m on the field, being around people I care for and people who care about me,” Hayward said. “I wanted to be back here with my brothers.” The feeling was mutual. In a locker room buzzing with emotion and adrenaline after the Chargers won for the sixth time in eight games to grab a share of the AFC West lead, coach Anthony Lynn awarded Hayward the game ball. “Casey is one of the strongest people I know,” fellow cornerback Trevor Williams said. “Losing his mother [to cancer in 2016], losing his brother, coming back and playing with us and being able to focus … I’m not sure I could handle that same type of pressure. “We’re all brothers. We’re all here for one another in good times and bad. We have his back. He knows that. He lost one brother, but he gained 53-plus.” JeCavesia Hayward, 27, was a passenger in a Toyota Camry that struck a tractor trailer in the emergency lane of Interstate 75 late Monday night. He died after being ejected from the vehicle and struck by cars. Casey Hayward left the team Tuesday and did not practice all week. He returned to Southern California late Friday night, after funeral services for JeCavesia earlier in the day.
Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward takes care of family and then business on football field
Los Angeles Times | Dec 4