Denver Bronco’s wide receiver Kenny McKinley died of a gunshot wound to the head on Monday, which was later confirmed as self inflicted.
Team mates and family members were left stunned by the news and said they had no idea what had driven the 23 year old to such extreme actions.
The player, who joined the Bronco’s in 2009, had been on the sidelines with a knee injury and was undergoing rehabilitation after corrective surgery. Denver Bronco’s coach Josh Daniels was quoted on KansasCity.com as saying, “We’ve all seen him recently. He’s been the same person every time we see him. Liked junk food and chips and things like that.”
“He was in the cafeteria, or in the training room, when we were seeing him the last so many weeks here. Nothing that would alarm us to anything like this.”
According to one investigator he was depressed over his injury. While playing dominos after surgery he reportedly told friends he should just kill himself although he was not taken seriously at the time. The report did not however provide a source for this information.
The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s report also states that McKinley had spoken of his concerns about a possible future without football.
His body was discovered by friends staying at his home in East Caley Place. A pillow was placed over his head with a pistol was resting on top of it. Detectives also reported the smell of freshly burned marijuana.
As with many cases of suicide, the warning signs go unread by people close by and this certainly seems to be the case with Kenny McKinley. One can only guess at what was on his mind at the time, but after two operations to the same knee in eight months, and statements he made to his team mates, the indications are there that he was fearful of losing his career as a professional footballer.
Tributes have been flooding in from fans and fellow players, and the Denver Bronco’s will wear the number 11 on their helmets for the rest of the season in respect of their friend.
Other celebrities who died too young include Heath Ledger, Chris Farley, Brad Renfro, River Phoenix and Elvis Presley. Three stars who have attempted suicide are Sinead O’Connonr, Fantasia Barrino and Owen Wilson.
Images: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kenny_McKinley.JPG, http://www.denverbroncos.com/multimedia/photo-gallery/Kenny-McKinley-1987-2010/f1f69ec3-55f6-4f60-b934-801c138434e6