Kenny McKinley: NFL Player Found Dead, Latest on Apparent Suicide of Denver WR

RM HeroldFeatured ColumnistSeptember 21, 2010

Kenny McKinley: NFL Player Found Dead, Latest on Apparent Suicide of Denver WR

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    Kenny McKinley, a former SEC wide receiver standout and Denver Broncos wide receiver, has died.

    Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said authorities were called to McKinley's home in Centennial, Colorado, and found his body in a second-floor bedroom with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound at around 3 p.m. Monday afternoon.

    "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," Robinson told FOX 31 of Denver.

Kenny McKinley As a Bronco (2009)

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    McKinley was a fifth-round draft choice out of South Carolina in 2009. He played in eight games as a rookie last year and had seven kick returns for 158 yards (22.6 avg.) before going on injured reserve with a left knee injury on December 29th.

Kenny McKinley As a Bronco (2010)

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    McKinley recovered from his 2009 season ending knee injury to fully participated in off season workouts.

    Unfortunately, he was hurt again during the first week of training camp and was placed on the injured reserve list on August 5th.

Statement From The Broncos

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    The Broncos President and CEO Pat Bowlen released this statement:

    "Everyone with the Broncos is shocked and saddened by the loss of Kenny McKinley. He was part of the Broncos' family and will be greatly missed by our organization. My most heartfelt condolences go out to Kenny's family and friends."

Coach McDaniels Statement

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    Denver Broncos Head Coach Josh McDaniels also released a statement Monday night.:

    "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. This is a tragic loss for our football team, and his family is in all of our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time."

Kenny McKinley At South Carolina

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    McKinley started his final three seasons at the University of South Carolina remains the Gamecocks' all-time leading receiver with 207 catches for 2,781 yards.

    He attended the South Carolina vs. Georgia gamew on September 11th of this year, and was announced to the crowd at Williams-Brice Stadium. He received a large applause.

Words From Steve Spurrier

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    South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier told The State newspaper in Columbia:

    "I saw him here. He came to the Georgia game. He seemed in good spirits... 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 South Carolina Accolades

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    McKinley not only owns several school receiving records, he earned first-team All-Southeastern Conference honors as a junior in 2007 and honorable mention all-conference accolades as a senior in 2008.

    Though he will be kept in record books for his achievements, most who remembered him spoke of his great smile and demeanor. As well as how he will be missed.

Denver Broncos Recent Tragedies

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    McKinley's death is the third for the Broncos since the 2007 season.

    Cornerback Darrent Williams was slain in a drive-by shooting on New Year's Day of 2007 after leaving a Downtown Denver night club.

    The unfortunate irony of this story is that according to the Denver Post many 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.

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Another Death

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    Also in 2007, Denver running back Damien Nash collapsed at a charity basketball at his high school. He was found unresponsive at a residence in suburban St. Louis and was later pronounced dead.