In West Babylon, high school football coach Albert Ritacco came out of retirement and returned to the game. He did it because of Belcher. Ritacco saw him a few weeks before he died, at a West Babylon football game. Ritacco used to always ask Belcher to speak to the team, and he would tell them about dreams and making it from nowhere to the NFL.
But on this particular day, Belcher didn't feel like giving a speech and met Ritacco after the game. When the longtime coach told Belcher he was retiring from teaching, and football, Belcher suggested he keep coaching. But it wasn't that easy. West Babylon, Ritacco said, wouldn't let him coach if he didn't teach at the school.
Ritacco eventually landed a job in a nearby school, coaching junior varsity players. He wanted to do that for Belcher.
"I miss him," Ritacco said. "He was a big part of my life. Now it's a year later, but it's like yesterday."
The move has sort of rejuvenated Ritacco, but it's different. He no longer gives speeches about Belcher, but if anyone asks, he'll tell him or her about the kid who seemingly did everything right for 25 years and then did something horribly wrong.
The kids don't ask. Life moves on.