Denver, CO - Denver Broncos wide receiver Kenny McKinley was found dead Monday from an apparent suicide.
The 23-year-old's body was found at his residence in Arapahoe County.
"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."
According to a report from the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office, deputies responded to a home at 3:25 p.m. to investigate a report of a possible suicide. It was there that officers discovered McKinley in the second floor master bedroom. The report said McKinley appeared to die of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, but the sheriff's office and Arapahoe County Coroner's Office was continuing the investigation.
A fifth-round pick in 2009, McKinley served primarily as a kick returner for the Broncos, making 10 total returns in 2009 before being placed on injured reserve. He was also placed on injured reserve to start this season.
"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," Broncos 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 played at South Carolina and ended his college career with 207 receptions and 2,781 receiving yards, both of which were school records.
"I saw him here...he came to the Georgia game," said South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier. "He seemed in good spirits. 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. It's a sad day."
This is the third Broncos tragedy in recent years, as cornerback Darrent Williams was killed in a drive-by shooting on New Year's Day in 2007 and running back Damien Nash collapsed and died and a charity basketball game later that year.