Familiar Tragedy: Remembering Kenny McKinley, Denver Broncos Wide Receiver

Jason ClaryCorrespondent ISeptember 21, 2010

Kenny McKinley at South Carolina (left)
Kenny McKinley at South Carolina (left)

Since Josh McDaniels took over as the head coach of the Denver Broncos, the atmosphere has been as up and down as the very mountains that surround them.

Without warning, Monday afternoon yielded more bad news for this struggling franchise.

Kenny McKinley, a Broncos fifth round pick from 2009, was found dead in his home with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Sadly, this scene is all too familiar, as former Bronco Darrent Williams was gunned down in a drive-by shooting on January 1, 2007, and less than two months later, Damien Nash collapsed and died after playing in a charity basketball game.

McKinley was born in Baker, Louisiana and was a graduate of South Cobb High School. Considered a multi-position player, McKinley was most recognized for his ability as a dual-threat quarterback.

Working his way into the starting lineup playing wide receiver at South Carolina, McKinley showed his great football potential by catching 25 passes for 291 yards.

The year after, he started all 13 games, lining up opposite Sidney Rice. McKinley ranked second on the team as a receiver that year, behind only Rice.

Over the next two years, McKinley would shine as the premier receiver at South Carolina and as one of the best receivers in the SEC.

He eventually set school records for reception and receiving yards and has the second most touchdown receptions in school history. McKinley also became the fifth receiver in the SEC to ever catch more than 200 passes, while becoming the 12th player in the SEC to ever record over 2,700 receiving yards.

Unfortunately, McKinley only played eight games in 2009 after being placed on injured reserve with a knee injury late during that season. He was also on injured reserve to start the 2010 season.

Police responded to a call Monday afternoon about a possible suicide and upon arrival found the 23-year-old lying on the floor.

The Broncos have dealt with an immense amount of sadness over the past couple of years, and this news is sadly familiar.

In wake of this news, the Denver Broncos fans, players, and organization has been further bonded by sadness.

Though you cannot change the past, you wish you could rewind time to help this ailing young man.

You can expect the Broncos team and coaches to rally around each other, as they have learned to cherish their time together.

It is very sad, but it takes events like this for players to realize that it isn't their teammate that is in the locker next to them; it is their brother.

The Denver Broncos have scheduled a press conference for 12 pm Tuesday to discuss this tragic matter.

May all of our hearts and minds be with the Denver Broncos, their fans, and the family of Kenny McKinley.