Sheriff: Broncos WR McKinley, 23, found dead at his home

September 21st, 2010 by Staff

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Denver Broncos wide receiver Kenny McKinley was found dead in his home Monday in an apparent suicide.

Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said authorities were called to McKinley’s apartment in Centennial at 3:35 p.m. local time and found his body in the second-floor master bedroom. Robinson said detectives believe McKinley, 23, was killed by a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Robinson said authorities were called by a female friend of McKinley’s who discovered the body after returning from an errand with his child. The sheriff declined to say if authorities found a suicide note.

“It’s still part of our investigation and probably nothing we’ll talk about right now,” Robinson said.

McKinley’s death is the latest in a series for tragedies for the Broncos in recent years. Cornerback Darrent Williams was slain in a drive-by shooting on New Year’s Day 2007, and three months later, backup running back Damien Nash collapsed and died after a charity basketball game in St. Louis.

“Everyone with the Broncos is shocked and saddened by the loss of Kenny McKinley,” team owner Pat Bowlen said in a statement. “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.”

The Broncos said coach Josh McDaniels would meet with the media Tuesday.

In a statement, McDaniels said: “Kenny had a promising future on the football field, but more importantly, 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.”

McKinley was a second-year pro who was on Denver’s injured reserve list with a knee injury. He played in eight games as a rookie in 2009 with seven kickoff returns for 158 yards before going on injured reserve with a knee injury on Dec. 29.

McKinley recovered and participated in the Broncos’ offseason workouts, but he was hurt again during the first week of training camp and was placed on IR with a knee injury on Aug. 5.

McKinley was a fifth-round draft pick out of South Carolina in 2009. He attended South Cobb High School in Austell, Ga.

McKinley remains South Carolina’s all-time leading receiver with 207 catches for 2,781 yards. He came back to the school earlier this month, watched the Gamecocks beat Georgia 17-6 and visited with his college coach, Steve Spurrier.

The news of McKinley’s death quickly spread at the end of South Carolina’s practice Monday. Players who normally sprint off the field upbeat walked slowly and had their heads down.

“Kenny was certainly one of my all-time favorite players,” Spurrier said. “It’s hard to figure out why it happened like this.”

Several Broncos players were attending a fundraiser Monday night in honor of Williams. Cornerback Champ Bailey and former NFL star John Lynch headlined the wine-tasting VIP event to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Denver, home of the Darrent Williams Memorial Teen Center.

Bailey told The Associated Press last week that it was an opportunity for fans and friends to celebrate the life of the player they called D-Will, especially after so much attention was focused on the trial earlier this year in which Willie Clark, 26, was convicted of first-degree murder of Williams after a confrontation at a nightclub. Clark was sentenced in April to life in prison plus 1,152 years.

“It’s time to remember the way D-Will lived and not the way he died,” Bailey said last week.

The Broncos, who beat the Seattle Seahawks 31-14 on Sunday, hustled out of their Dove Valley practice facilities Monday night, many of them headed to the charity event unaware of the latest tragedy to befall the franchise.


2 Responses

  1. Bob Foster

    Suicide!!!
    This just goes to show you that money and fame dont make you happy either. Im doing just fine paycheck to paychek
    thanks to my wife and kids they love me for who i am.Great show always Bubba i wont stay without it !!!!

  2. Derf The Smurf

    PUSSY! Way to f*up the person who has to find your grisly, bloody, ****** body…and you had a KID?? You jackass…

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