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Child’s shooting death upsets Fuller

The Associated Press

BEREA- A child’s fatal shooting in Cleveland brought back difficult memories for Corey Fuller, a Cleveland Browns defensive back.

Wednesday, August 25, 1999

BEREA- A child’s fatal shooting in Cleveland brought back difficult memories for Corey Fuller, a Cleveland Browns defensive back.

The former Minnesota Vikings player is adjusting to Cleveland and finding his role on an expansion team. In the first home game Saturday at the new Cleveland Browns Stadium, Fuller went up against his friends on the Vikings.

On Thursday, Fuller read a newspaper account of the accidental shooting death of a 13-year-old girl by a Cleveland playmate.

Fuller, 28, couldn’t help but think about the tragedy for a Cleveland family and about his own younger brother, Fred Bates, who was shot and killed in Tallahassee, Fla., seven years ago at age 18.

Browns coach Chris Palmer noticed that Fuller, one of the Browns’ defensive starters, was distraught. The coach discussed the situation with the player.

”I told him that I wanted to get in touch with the family of the little girl who was killed,” Fuller said. ”I just wanted to talk to them. It made me think about my own mother and all we went through when my brother died.”

That afternoon, two siblings of the girl arrived at the Browns’ training facility. Fuller met them and prayed with them.

”I told them they would eventually have to forgive the boy and move on. I told them that time would heal,” Fuller said.

Fuller remembers that when his brother was killed he wanted to find the shooter and personally get revenge. But his mother talked him out of it.

As a young player with the Vikings, Fuller was once jailed for two days after an altercation with a fan. He also was twice fined by the NFL for excessive violence during a game.

”Football is a violent sport. That’s the reality of it. But I’m not a violent player,” he said.

He credits former Minnesota teammate Cris Carter for helping him learn to control his anger. Carter is a receiver on the football field, and he’s an evangelist off it.

”Cris Carter has spent countless hours with me on the spiritual side of things,” Fuller said.

Fuller, as a free agent, signed a five-year deal with the Browns in February.