Archive for the ‘mckinley death’ tag
Article first published as What Was Behind Kenny McKinley’s Apparent Suicide? on Blogcritics.
One finds it hard to fathom that something dark may have been lurking behind what players and coaches have described as the lively and happy demeanor of Kenny McKinley, the former wide receiver and kick returner for the Denver Broncos believed to have shot himself at his Centennial, Colo., home this week.
He was always a guy that used to love to joke with me, and I would joke back and forth with him. But he had a big smile on his face. He just walked out of the building. And that’s the last thing we remember, that huge smile. Like coach said, he always showed every tooth in his mouth, just smiling and being happy.
As it turns out, investigator reports indicate that McKinley, who was on injured reserve in his second year with the Broncos, had dropped hints that he may have been suffering from depression about his knee injury:
The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s report quoted one investigator as saying McKinley had been depressed over a knee surgery he had a month ago.
“He had made statements while playing dominoes shortly after the surgery that he should just kill himself,” the officer reported. “No one believed he was serious.”
The report didn’t provide an explanation for the source of the investigator’s information.
The report also said McKinley had made statements about not knowing what he would do without football.
Thus, perhaps commentators on WCCP’s “The Score” radio show, a station based out of Clemson, S.C., were, at least in part, on target today when they seemed to suggest today that McKinley may have been overly stressed by the various pressures faced by professional athletes. Of course, it’s hard to sympathize with someone who had a four-year, $1.9 million contract with a professional football team in one of the most lucrative leagues in the world. But the radio commentators brought a great point to bear: professional athletes, some of whom have no other options outside of sports, depend mightily on their bodies to support their families and pay the bills, however colossal those expenses may seem to regular folk.
Woodyard made the point in the above article:
Well, you know, football’s a stressful job. … It’s the same thing with people in everyday life, you’ve got to talk to somebody in your life, so just to help you work out those problems.
In short, for McKinley, who holds the all-time receiving record at his alma mater, the University of South Carolina, one can only imagine that football was his life. And I suppose he felt that that life may be, or may have already been, taken away from him because of the injury, however short-sided that view may seem to us.
As if to make the posthumous point himself, McKinley left a clue at the scene: when police officers arrived to find his head under a pillow with a gun on top, they also noticed a telling detail: the NFL Network was droning in the background.