Minnesota coach Jerry Kill and quarterback MarQueis Gray issued statements on the tragic death of linebacker Gary Tinsley on Friday morning. The team has canceled Saturday's scheduled practice at TCF Bank Stadium. Video from Friday's emotional news conference can be seen here.
Here are the statements:
Kill: "It's a very, very sad day for our football program and for our young men. We lost one of ours today in Gary Tinsley, who I know is in a good place. Gary's a young man that has done everything I asked him to do since the day I walked in this door. I ask all of you to make sure in a situation of this nature ... it's devastating to a family that has a young man, that loses a child.
"All our hearts -- from our program to our administration and certainly our players -- go out to Gary's family. They're a long way away and headed this direction and I couldn't imagine. Our prayers are out to them.
"And our prayers are out to our kids, our players. The two things that matter to Coach Kill, our staff and our administration are Gary's family and our players. We're all in one. We have to take care of each other in difficult times. We'll do that with our young men. I don't know that there's a whole lot more that I can say. The biggest thing I would encourage our fans, our state and our university ... the most important thing in all of this, is Gary Tinsley's family and our players. I love them all."
Gray: "This morning, after Coach Kill spoke with the team, I decided to stand up, take it in my hands and address the team as well, to let them know we're still a family. I told them that as soon as they put their name on that dotted line to come to the University of Minnesota, they entered a whole new brotherhood. When you enter a brotherhood you'll always be a brother. Once you put on that U of M maroon and gold, we're going to be a family through thick and thin. I told them that we need to stick together and make this team stronger.
"I know that I've been friends with [Gary] for about four or five years now. He has grown on me. This morning, it was bad for me as one person, to come up here and address the team and see everyone crying -- coaching staff, trainers. It is just overall a sad day for Gopher Nation, as well as the Gopher football team.
"It's just weird how things work. Last night, we were just texting each other and today he's gone. I guess that's just the way God works. He was a great brother, a great teammate, a great friend. I know he was a great son to his parents. I can only imagine what his parents are feeling right now. For myself and the rest of the team, we're very sad that this had to happen. We just need to use it as motivation to continue to stick together."
A very sad day in Minneapolis. Thoughts and prayers go out to Tinsley's family and to the Minnesota football program