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Denver Broncos wide receiver Kenny McKinley dies in apparent suicide

(Associated Press)

Kenny McKinley, a Denver Broncos wide receiver who was out for the season recovering from knee surgery, was found dead of an apparent suicide Monday afternoon at his home.

The body of McKinley, 23, was found by authorities in a second-floor bedroom with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound at around 3:25 p.m. MDT. A second-year player out of South Carolina, he had undergone season-ending surgery for a recurring knee injury in August.

"Although the death of McKinley appears to be the result of a self inflicted gunshot, the investigation into this matter, conducted by the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office and the Arapahoe County Coroner's Office, is on-going, " Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson told Fox 31 of Denver.

"Kenny had a promising future on the football field, but more important, he was a great teammate whose smile and personality could light up the room," Coach Josh McDaniels said in a statement Monday night. "This is a tragic loss for our football team, and his family is in all of our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time."

The death is the third for the Broncos since 2007. Cornerback Darrent Williams died in a drive-by shooting and running back Damien Nash collapsed at a charity basketball game in 2007. The Denver Post reports that current and former Broncos were attending a fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Denver, site of the Darrent Williams Memorial Teen Center, when they learned of McKinley's death.

"It's too fresh. I haven't gotten my mind around it yet," cornerback Champ Bailey said.

McKinley had yet to achieve the success he had at South Carolina, where he was the school's all-time leading wide receiver and attended the Gamecocks' home game Sept. 11.

"I saw him here. He came to the Georgia game. He seemed in good spirits," South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier told The State newspaper in Columbia on Monday night. "He had a great smile, like he always had. I don't understand it, if it happened the way they say. It's hard to comprehend. Kenny was one of my favorite all-time players. He was one of them. He was a wonderful guy. It's hard to figure out how, or why, this happened."

More headlines:

Broncos face yet another tragedy: Mark Kiszla's column.

Kenny McKinley in pictures: A gallery.

Depression in athletes: Are they at increased risk?

By Cindy Boren  | September 21, 2010; 7:45 AM ET
Categories:  NFL  
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Did anyone stand to gain from his death?

Posted by: congero | September 21, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

He looks like he was about 16 years old. Sad. RIP.

Posted by: randysbailin | September 21, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

...and another one bites the dust. And another one's gone, and another one's gone, and another one bites the dust..

Posted by: rpcv84 | September 21, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Why and how can you write a comment so insensitive? I am sure Kenny McKinley or his family never did anything to you.

Posted by: asmith61 | September 21, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Condolences to his family and friends. It will never be understood why this happened but he must have had terrible anguish. Rest in Peace, young man, your smile and talent will be missed.

Posted by: shejoy | September 21, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

You are truly a sociopath.

Posted by: smcgillivray | September 21, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Tragic. I wonder if he was disappointed in his career. RIP.

Posted by: forgetthis | September 21, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

A toxicology report might show evidence of cocaine, a sure-fire way to a psychotic episode.

Posted by: TooManyPeople | September 21, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

...and another one bites the dust. And another one's gone, and another one's gone, and another one bites the dust..

Posted by: rpcv84 | September 21, 2010 9:12 AM |
You're next!

Posted by: Rocc00 | September 21, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

While the person who commits suicide dies only once, their loved ones die a thousand deaths wondering why.

Posted by: mdrk07 | September 21, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

So incredibly sad, and my heart goes out to his family. I can't help but think that Mr. McKinley's suicide must have something to do with the hits to the head he must have taken in practice or games -- it's a little too the recent suicide of Owen Thomas at UPenn to be a coincidence.

Posted by: themegnapkin | September 21, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

I meant, "it's a little too SIMILAR to the recent suicide of Owen Thomas at UPenn to be a coincidence."

Posted by: themegnapkin | September 21, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps autopsy would show if brain-tissue changes linked to concussions were present in McKinley. Here's a description of one such football-related case:

American Football: Suicide of college player linked to sport's violent hits
By Rupert Cornwell in Washington
Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Posted by: TeresaBinstock | September 21, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse


Don't you get it? People put stuff like that on the message boards just to get a reaction out people like you.

Posted by: jakeyrotten | September 21, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of this young man. Before he was ever a football player he was someone's child. Gain strength from these words_ He promised to never leave you or forsake you, amd today He really means it. withlove and concern I write to the family of Kenny McKinley.

Posted by: jmonty59 | September 21, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

RPC - seek professional help. TODAY!

Posted by: jmonty59 | September 21, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I assume he left some kind of note for them to be so sure it was a suicide. It is sort of implied that the knee injury had something to do with it. While most players deal with such injuries even career-ending injuries, it must be really difficult at times.

Posted by: rjma1 | September 21, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

May be it is time to rethink this game of football. Wrestling is even safer than football. Let's turn to basketball and soccer and all will be well. How do you pay someone millions just to hit.

Posted by: manwaa51 | September 21, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

A truly sad event. My prayers go out to the family and friends.
Why did it happen? My guess was that this athlete was so focused on his sport that when he was injured and would not be playing again this year, he could not handle the mental pain. An incredible physician of mine loved to run as a stress release. When he found he had a disease that was taking away that ability, he could not face life and ended his, leaving a beautiful wife and children.
We will never know the real reason for these tragedies because we are not inside the minds of the distressed.
Speculation by amateurs, and even professionals, is simply that - speculation. Give it a rest and feel for the survivors.

Posted by: pjohn2 | September 21, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

The WAPO teaser is laughable.


Posted by: bs2004 | September 21, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Speculation as to the reason he took his life is way premature. We may never know the real reason. You could probably list 100 reasons: (i) depression (ii) knee injury was career threatening (iii) dumped by a girlfriend (iv) drugs (v) messing around w/ a gun (vi) murder made to look like suicide (vi) gambling debts (vii) loneliness, etc. etc. etc.

Posted by: randysbailin | September 21, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse




Posted by: | September 22, 2010 12:14 AM | Report abuse

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