AUSTELL, GA (WIS) - Friends, teammates and family gathered in suburban Atlanta for the funeral of former Gamecock and Denver Broncos wide receiver Kenny McKinley.
The 23-year-old died last week at his home near team headquarters in Denver. Authorities believe he shot himself in the head because he was depressed following his second straight season-ending knee surgery.
A large crowd attended the funeral Monday morning at Word of Faith Family Worship Cathedral in Austell. Many remembered McKinley as somebody who always smiled and brought joy wherever he went.
McKinley's former coach at the University of South Carolina, Steve Spurrier, sat in the front row with several NFL players.
Moe Brown didn't expect to be among the people filling the church. "He was like a brother to me as well as a teammate," said Brown.
McKinley took brown under his wing when he arrived in Columbia.
"A lot of my game was tailored after his game," said Brown. "I had been a receiver my whole like. He had transitioned from quarterback to receiver, but he was teaching me"
McKinley was a football standout at South Cobb High School in Austell and was a fifth-round draft choice out of South Carolina in 2009.
Moe and Kenny remained friends once No. 11 left to begin his NFL career.
"It's heartbreaking," said Brown "We spoke regularly. And not to have an idea what his state of mind was. Made me sit back and wonder what I could have done to reach out to him."