The girlfriend of Denver Broncos wide receiver Kenny McKinley came home from running errands with their son to find the 23-year-old dead in an apparent suicide.
Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said authorities were called to McKinley’s home in Centennial at 3:35 p.m. local time and found his body in the second-floor master bedroom. He said detectives believe McKinley, 23, was killed by a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Robinson said authorities were called by a female friend of McKinley’s who discovered the body after returning from an errand with his child. The sheriff declined to say if authorities found a suicide note.
“It’s still part of our investigation and probably nothing we’ll talk about right now,” he said.
McKinley had just started his second season with the Broncos but did not get a chance to take the field this year, due to a knee injury.
“Everyone with the Broncos is shocked and saddened by the loss of Kenny McKinley,” team owner Pat Bowlen said in a statement. “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.”
The Broncos said coach Josh McDaniels would meet with the media on Tuesday.
In a statement, McDaniels said: “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. This is a tragic loss for our football team, and his family is in all of our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”
While those who knew him say they had no reason to suspect he might take such a drastic step, it’s believed that McKinley’s suicide may have been prompted by his disappointment with his first two years in the NFL.
Making his death more eerie, McKinley is the third Broncos player to die unexpectedly in less than three years.