Detectives: Former Gamecock McKinley spoke of suicide - - Columbia, South Carolina

Detectives: Former Gamecock McKinley spoke of suicide

Kenny McKinley (Source: Kenny McKinley (Source:
Kenny McKinley (Source: Kenny McKinley (Source:
Kenny McKinley (Source: Kenny McKinley (Source:
Kenny McKinley (Source: Kenny McKinley (Source:

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS/ - Police have released details of former South Carolina and current Denver Broncos wide receiver Kenny McKinley's suicide.

A report from the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office stated that McKinley was found by two female friends in his room with a gun in his hand and a pillow up against his head. The report says the second floor was very smoky and the officer could smell a strong aroma of marijuana. Police say McKinley was found in his bed, with the TV in his bedroom tuned to the NFL Network.
Former Gamecock Corey Boyd and his wife are listed as people who provided information for the police report. Boyd was McKinley's roommate at USC and a Broncos teammate.

McKinley's friends said McKinley suffered from depression for four weeks after having surgery on his knee. The Denver Post reports McKinley had made statements shortly after the surgery "that he should just kill himself," and that McKinley didn't know what he would do if he couldn't play football because that was all he knew. 

The report went on to say that although the death of Mr. 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 ongoing."

Brittany Boyd, the wife of former Broncos running back Cory Boyd, who was McKinley's best friend and college teammate, was one of the two women who were taking care of McKinley's toddler son when they discovered McKinley had shot himself.

She told The Associated Press she didn't know who told the investigators that McKinley had mentioned suicide, but added that she wouldn't be surprised if nobody would have taken such a threat seriously.

"That's not the type of thing he would say and if he did say it, that's not the type of thing that you would take seriously coming from him.

"Because of his personality, because of who he is, nobody would have ever believed he would have done it."

Boyd said she had picked up McKinley and his son at the Denver airport Sunday and nothing seemed amiss.

"He was just excited about having his son here. He showed no signs of depression, no signs of awkwardness. He was 100 percent himself," Boyd said.

She did say, however, that she could tell over the last month that McKinley was having a hard time with not being able to play football or be around his teammates every day. But she said it wasn't like he was struggling to the point anyone feared he would harm himself.

She said neither she nor her friend who was helping take care of the boy knew McKinley had a gun.

McKinley, from Mableton, Ga., is South Carolina's all-time leader in receptions with 77. He played for the Gamecocks from 2005-08 after a standout career as a quarterback at South Cobb High in suburban Atlanta.

Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier commented on the news following Monday night's practice.

"I saw him here, he came for the Georgia game, and seemed in good spirits," Spurrier said. "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 certainly one of my favorite all-time players. He was a wonderful guy. It's hard to figure out why this happened.

"He's one of my all-time favorites. Everything about him. Wonderful smile. Sad day. Sad day."

McKinley struggled to stay healthy during his two years with the Broncos. He was placed on injury reserve with a knee injury in 2009 and also placed on injury reserve prior to the start of the 2010 regular season.

"Everyone with the Broncos is shocked and saddened by the loss of Kenny McKinley," Broncos president and CEO Pat Bowlen said. "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."

McKinley, a fifth-round draft pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, played in eight games with the Broncos as a rookie. He returned seven kickoffs for 158 yards along with three punts for 32 yards. He was the only rookie in the league that season to average at least 22 yards on kickoff returns and 10 yards on punt returns.

"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," Denver head coach Josh McDaniels said. "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's death is the latest in a series for tragedies for the Broncos since 2007. 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.



Related stories:

Gamecock fans mourn McKinley, a legend most never even met

Broncos to honor McKinley with moment of silence, decal

Spurrier reflects on McKinley, says psychiatrist will visit team

Champion NFL coach has experience dealing with players' deaths

McKinley's death puts new focus on Suicide Prevention Month

Copyright 2010 All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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