COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward has left the team to be with his family after his brother's death in a car accident.
Coach Anthony Lynn said Wednesday that he doesn't know whether Hayward will return for Sunday's game against Cleveland.
Jecaives Hayward was killed Monday night in Macon, Georgia, when he was ejected from a car in which he was a passenger.
"I told him he needs to go home and be with his family," Lynn said. "If Casey makes it back and plays, that's great. If he doesn't, then we certainly understand."
Casey Hayward is a key defensive player for the Chargers (5-6), who are on a roll after a 0-4 start.
Hayward has started all 11 games and made four interceptions and 30 tackles. The Chargers have depended heavily on him after losing fellow veteran starter Jason Verrett to a knee injury in September, and Hayward ranks as one of the most effective defensive backs in the NFL, according to numerous statistical ratings.
Chargers cornerback Trevor Williams said Hayward intends to return to Los Angeles on Friday. Lynn also said Hayward is studying for the game with the intention of playing.
"He's doing some things to get prepared for this game," Lynn said. "But sometimes you get back home and things change. He may have more on his plate than he thinks, and I just told him take care of business at home, and we'll take care of this."
Hayward joined the Chargers in 2016 after four seasons with Green Bay. He was a high school quarterback who moved permanently to defensive back at Vanderbilt.
Hayward's mother, Tish, died last year at 45 years old after a fight with breast cancer.
For more NFL coverage: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL