Broncos wide receiver McKinley dies in apparent suicide

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By Cindy Boren
Tuesday, September 21, 2010; 10:19 AM

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."

© 2010 The Washington Post Company

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