ALBANY PARK — Members of a semi-pro football team that unites young men from across the city are reeling after another team member was lost to violence this week — the third player killed in the last eight months.
In the latest case, another team member has been charged with murder.
Carl Noffz, 23, was charged with first-degree murder this week after killing his brother, police said. Both were members of the Chicago Falcons, a semi-pro football team that plays its home games in Columbus Park in Austin.
Noffz was taken into custody about 6 a.m. Tuesday in the 4800 block of North Central Park Avenue when officers went to the scene of the fatal beating.
The victim, identified by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office as 28-year-old Philip Noffz, was pronounced dead at the scene after his brother beat him with a baseball bat while he slept in his bed, prosecutors said.
The brothers played on the Falcons, a team already grappling with tragedy.
On June 27, 22-year-old player Lewis Funches was among four shot during a block party in the 3100 block of South Rhodes Avenue. Funches, a dancer who wanted to become a police officer, was critically wounded and died from his injuries July 3.
Police don’t think Funches, who also worked as an intern for the 15th Police District, was the intended target, NBC reported.
Another player on the Falcons was killed Dec. 3, said Tom Robinson, the team’s coach and owner.
Maurice “Caesar” Patterson, 23, was driving near Archer Heights when someone fired shots in the 4500 block of South Knox Avenue, killing him, the Sun-Times reported. Patterson had worked as a security guard and played with the Falcons.
Philip Noffz, who was entering his third year with the Falcons, also was a rapper who performed around the Chicago area under the name Ka$per87, according to the team website. The website said Philip and Carl Noffz were brothers and listed their hometown as Sheboygan, Wisconsin.
Reached Wednesday evening, Robinson said he was “shocked” to learn Carl Noffz was arrested.
“This is the first I’ve heard of this. I’m shocked,” Robinson said. “He was a pleasant team player. Whatever we asked of him he’d do. He had no disrespect. I never saw a mean bone in his body. I wished he’d get mean at times on the field. He fed people that didn’t have money and done a lot of kind things. I can’t — I don’t understand this one.”
Robinson, who has run the team for 30 years, worked at Orr High School for 37 years as a physical education instructor, football coach and assistant principal. He started the team to give young men a way out of violence and gang activity, and over the years it has become a safe haven for young men across the city.
He said Carl Noffz hadn’t shown up for any workouts with the team this season as they have been preparing for their first game July 18.
“I just lost a kid last week to gun violence and now this,” Robinson said. “Oh my goodness, man.”
On Thursday morning, Robinson said he wasn’t aware of any off-the-field troubles Carl Noffz may have had, and said as far as he knew the brothers had a good relationship.
“Carl was going to be my quarterback of our future and Phillip was a receiver. He loved throwing to his brother. I never saw any rivalry,” Robinson said.
However, Carl Noffz’s Facebook profile had several disturbing posts, including a June 10 post that seemed to illustrate a feud between him and his brother. Phillip Noffz implied in a comment his brother had an untreated mental illness.
“Get some help and maybe think about going on medication,” Phillip Noffz told his brother. Several other friends echoed these comments, imploring Carl Noffz to seek help.
Carl Noffz’s last Facebook post was a self-portrait taken at 12:42 a.m. July 7, about five hours before he was arrested for killing his brother, with the caption, “They came for us.”
Robinson said he was up all night getting texts from upset players and planned to meet with them Thursday evening.
“Guys on this team don’t know each other and then play together and become friends for life. We have 700 alumni who all come back for a Hall of Fame dinner and they all knew Carl and Phillip,” Robinson said. “He knew he could have called me any time. I don’t know what it could have been … .”
Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.