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NFL notebook: Arrowhead parking lot death ruled a homicide

| Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, 8:54 p.m.

The death of a Missouri man in an Arrowhead Stadium parking lot during Kansas City's game this weekend was ruled a homicide Wednesday, but police said it still could take weeks before they know what killed him.

Kyle Van Winkle, 30, of Smithville, was unconscious on the ground when police responded to a disturbance call around 5:20 p.m. in Lot A at Truman Sports Complex, where Arrowhead is located.

“Detectives have been working the case as a homicide from the beginning, so the investigation will not change,” police spokesman Darin Snapp said.

Van Winkle, the son of a police sergeant, apparently left the stadium early in the game and went to the parking lot, where he got into a Jeep that looked like the vehicle he came to the game in, Kansas City police spokesman Tye Grant said.

Dean Van Winkle told The Kansas City Star on Tuesday that his son left his seat to go to the restroom but never came back. He said Kyle didn't appear to be intoxicated or ill when he left.

The Jeep's owner found Van Winkle, which led to an argument. People tailgating nearby then came over and began fighting with Van Winkle, he said.

Witnesses saw a tailgater pummel Van Winkle, the Star reported.

After the beating, the tailgater and his friends returned to their vehicles to keep watching the Chiefs' game on a television.

“He collapsed during the struggle and was found to be not breathing,” Grant said. “That's when a person at the scene began doing CPR on him.”

Van Winkle was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Four people were taken into custody for questioning but none was charged.

Pack QB Rodgers limited

Aaron Rodgers would rather not let the “Will he-or-won't he” questions linger until Sunday.

The Packers' franchise quarterback expects a decision Friday — Saturday tops — whether he'll be medically cleared to face the Falcons in a game crucial to the team's dwindling playoff prospects.

“It's a medical decision,” Rodgers said Wednesday. “There were three parts to it: the strength, the range of motion and the evidence that we see on the scan. Two out of three are passed so far.”

London game starts early

London is getting its first NFL day game, creating a new morning time slot for viewers in the United States.

The NFL said the game between the Falcons and Lions at Wembley on Oct. 26 will start at 1:30 p.m. local time, making it a 9:30 a.m. Eastern time kickoff in the U.S.

The league said the switch will make it easier for a large global audience to tune in and create an unprecedented fourth game window for American viewers that Sunday.

Around the league

Matt Cassel is on track to start this week at quarterback for the Vikings, with Christian Ponder recovering from a concussion. ... Former Chiefs tight end Tony Moeaki signed with the Bills. Buffalo made room by cutting little-used veteran running back Tashard Choice. ... Browns defensive end Desmond Bryant will undergo a surgical procedure to correct an irregular heartbeat and miss the remainder of the season.

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