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Former NFL player Robert Eddins was one of two men found fatally shot in a Detroit basement in what police are calling an "execution-style" slaying on city's west side Tuesday evening.

At about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, the father of one of the victims entered the basement of his home on the 7900 block of Pierson — just south of Tireman, just east of Rouge Park — to find the two men slain, said Michael Woody, director of media relations for the Detroit Police Department.

Police say each suffered a gunshot wound to the head. They say they believe the two men had been there for hours, at least.

Bridgett Eddins, 48, identified one of the victims as her son Robert Eddins, 28, a former NFL player with the Buffalo Bills. The second victim is Ricardo McFarlin, 32. McFarlin and Eddins  died via homicide, the result of "multiple gunshot wounds," said Lloyd Jackson, a spokesman for the Wayne County Medical Examiner's office.

Bridgett Eddins knew something was wrong when she and Robert's 4-year-old son, Kellen, were unsuccessful in their many attempts to reach Robert on Tuesday, which started about 8 a.m.

"Grandma, call him again! Call him again!" the boy would say. She'd try, and try again, but still there was no answer.

"I knew something was wrong," Eddins told The News on Wednesday morning. "He would've called back."

She called her ex-husband, who reported similar results. Finally, the ex-husband went over to the house, which had formerly been Robert's grandmother's house, Eddins said. She died in December 2015, and the family has held the property since. It was when her ex-husband went to visit the house that he found his son and the other man shot dead.

"When I heard back from my ex, I knew," Eddins said.

"I'm just blank. I don't know what to say," Eddins said.

She did say that her spirits were buoyed by the outpouring for love she's seen for Robert on social media.

Robert Eddins, a Detroit Crockett High School product, played football at Ball State University before a brief stint as a defensive end with the Bills. He played one game for the Bills as an undrafted rookie in 2011.

At Ball State, Eddins played most of his time under head coach Brady Hoke, who went on to coach the University of Michigan from 2011 to 2014. Eddins had 167 tackles and 17 sacks in four seasons with the Cardinals.

“It’s always a sad day when a former Cardinal passes away," Michael Clark, Ball State associate athletic director, said in a statement. "Robert was one of the pivotal defensive players during the 2008 season when the football team made its magical run to 12–0 and the MAC championship game. Our thoughts and prayers are certainly with Robert and his family during this very difficult time."

The “pretty gruesome” crime scene had no survivors and no witnesses, and investigators are trying to determine a motive to figure out who might have done the shooting, Woody said. No arrests have been made.

jdickson@detroitnews.com

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