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Kenny McKinley Death Ruled Suicide

Entertainment and sports stories including Jennifer Grey on Dancing with the Stars continues to dominate the news as Kenny McKinley of the Denver Broncos was found dead in his Colorado home. Police investigating the death are calling it an apparent suicide, but they are still investigating. Police were called to the home of Kenny McKinley when his body was discovered with what appeared to be a self inflicted gunshot wound. The late wide receiver had been with the Broncos since being drafted last year. He had played in eight games during his rookie year, mostly handling kick return duties. But he injured a knee late in the season and had been on the team's injured reserve list ever since.

Broncos Offer Players Grief Counseling

In the wake of the news, the Denver Broncos organization arranged for grief counselors to be on hand for the team the following day for anyone who felt a need to talk about Kenny McKinley and what had happened to him. Players on the team were greatly saddened not only because of the loss of a teammate, but also because they felt that he was such a special person and a friend who would be missed. Coach Josh McDaniels described McKinley's smile and his personality in particular [1]. It was evident from statements given by various players and members of the Denver Broncos organization that the young football player will be greatly missed by the entire team.

Kenny McKinley Travels to Atlanta

Prior to his death, he had had just returned from a trip to Atlanta. While he was there he visited family members. He had come back into town a few nights before his death along with his young son. It is unclear whether any events that may have occurred during that trip could have weighed on his mind. Details have not been forthcoming.

In college, Kenny McKinley was a star wide receiver. When he finished his collegiate career, he was the University of South Carolina career leader in catches as well as receiving yards. But at least in the early going of his professional career, he was not able to achieve that type of success. His injury setbacks had been difficult for him to deal with according to those who knew him [1].

McKinley's agent spoke of the difficulty inherent in trying to adjust from being an absolute superstar in college to being someone who only saw limited action as a professional. That adjustment and all the felt expectations that may have built up during the time Kenny McKinley was at South Carolina may have contributed to his struggles. With professional football as competitive as it is, it can take a lot out of anyone mentally, especially when dealing with injuries. Athletes are still normal people who deal with things like family issues and auto insurance companies just like everyone else.

Kenny McKinley Visits Alma Mater

Prior to the Atlanta trip, Kenny McKinley had also made a visit to his alma mater. Kenny McKinley was announced to the crowd at a South Carolina football game, receiving a large applause from the fans attending [1].

Kenny McKinley will be missed by many people who knew him, both friends and family members. This untimely death is just another reminder of how fleeting life really is. As fans we look at guys like Kenny McKinley and think they have everything. But the truth is that many of them have all the same struggles and insecurities that we struggle with; only theirs are sometimes magnified by heightened expectations. The death of Kenny McKinley appears to have been one last desperate act by someone frustrated by tough circumstances.

[1] http://www.denverpost.com/sports/ci_16127852 Retrieved 2010-09-25.

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