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Published on 09/21/2010 at Tue Sep 21 05:40.
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Denver Broncos wide receiver Kenny McKinley (11) gets lifted off the ground by teammate Nate Swift after McKinley scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter during their NFL preseason football game in San Francisco, Calif., Friday, Aug. 14, 2009. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Denver Broncos wide receiver Kenny McKinley (11) gets lifted off the ground by teammate Nate Swift after McKinley scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter during their NFL preseason football game in San Francisco, Calif., Friday, Aug. 14, 2009. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Denver Broncos Head Coach Josh McDaniels –

“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.”

Kenny’s college coach at South Carolina, Steve Spurrier –

“I saw him here. He came to the Georgia game. He seemed in good spirits. He had a 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 one of my favorite all-time players. He was one of them. He was a wonderful guy. It’s hard to figure out how, or why, this happened.”

Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen –

“Everyone with the Broncos is shocked and saddened by the loss of Kenny McKinley. 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.”

Former Broncos wide receiver Brandon Stokley –

“He was one of the funniest guys I knew. Everything he said and everything he did was funny. That was his personality — he was always happy. A lot of people say that about people that passed, but that’s the truth. He was always a happy, funny guy. That’s what makes this so devastating.”

Kenny’s agent, Andrew Bondarowicz –

“Kenny had a big heart, a love for life. It’s just very shocking. These guys, they’re made of steel on the outside. But for a lot of them, the challenge of being at your best and living up to all the expectations is a difficult situation. Some people are better equipped and have the support system.”

Former Broncos tight end Tony Scheffler –

“Kenny was a great kid with all the talent in the world. He was constantly smiling and those smiles often got a lot of us through the hard days of an NFL week. My heart goes out to his family and teammates.”

College teammate, QB Blake Mitchell –

“Oh man, he is a great, great guy. The thing you remember about him is that smile he always had on his face. It’s kind of hard to believe. Everyone I have talked to says I don’t see him doing that. That’s just… he always was upbeat and always a happy guy.”

College teammate, LB Eric Norwood –

“I never thought anything of that nature with him, even when he got hurt last year or this year. He was energetic and he had a positive outlook on things. … It’s a tough loss. I was just with him this summer … (he was) like the same old Kenny, give everybody a smile.

Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey –

“It’s too fresh. I haven’t gotten my mind around it yet.”

Kenny McKinley found dead [BroncoTalk]
Broncos’ McKinley dead at 23 [Denver Post]
Former teammates react to Kenny McKinley’s death [Denver Post]

  • areferee

    As a fan of the game, and particularly the Denver Broncos, I too am trying to make sense out of such a tragedy. I would like to turn to my fellow fans, including the writers at BT, to help add background on some of the stresses that the players must endure.

    Example: When a player is on injured reserve, are they fully paid? Do they get to interact with the players on the active roster? Could Kenny have had financial problems? I don't wish to pry into personal situations that are none of our business, I'm just trying to understand what our guys have to go through.

    Any first-hand background information that can be shared would be helpful. Thanks. I'm sure we are all thinking about Kenny and his family and friends, especially now. It is a sad time in all of sports.

  • herc_rock

    Players are fully paid when they're on IR. Players on IR really have more stability and rights than active roster guys (can't get released, can't get traded, etc.). They can interact with the organization and the players as much or little as they wish.

    It's senseless to speculate as to why someone committed suicide. If there's a note and they release it or describe the tone and tenor of it, fine. Otherwise, what's the difference? Kenny clearly had problems that went well beyond the Broncos and/or his NFL career.

  • Dan

    As a member of AA, I share and receive support, therapy, and advice from other alchoholics. Shedding the alcohol is just one small part of learning to live sober…The much harder work is the work we have to do on ourselves. I am so sorry that Kenny did not get help, and it is important that everyone knows that inexpensive help is all around us…AA meetings for example are free (if you cannot afford it) or $1 (if you can afford it). The other important message is we don't have to deal with all of life's disappointments alone…It is not a sign of weakness it is a sign of wisdom to realize this before it is too late. RIP Kenny.

  • herc_rock

    Spurrier was really shaken up during that interview. I guess Kenny was at the SC game on Sat. and met with the team and everybody.

  • herc_rock

    What? Where are you getting this booze stuff from?

  • http://broncotalk.net Kyle

    Yeah, saw the video. He had to stop taking questions.

  • Harriscorey

    its dissappointing when a preson takes his own life espesially a bronco

  • http://nation.theorangepage.com/blog Ian Henson

    He allegedly had a clause in his contract that provided for the team to pay him less if he did not make the 53 man roster (which he didn't).

  • Nisse

    I hope the people who said nfl players dont have any problems at all and shouldnt complane understand that being a player isnt allways a walk in the park.

  • herc_rock

    That's a giant violation of a number of CBA rules.

  • http://nation.theorangepage.com/blog Ian Henson

    I can't imagine that it would be. The team can't afford to pay practice squad players the same amount as players who made the 53 man squad. I'm not an expert, but I imagine the truth will come to light soon enough.

  • herc_rock

    That's completely different. All PS guys have been released, voiding whatever deal they had in place, and then re-sign as a PS player.

    Every team in the league would try to have this clause in their players contracts if it was allowed – “Sorry Elvis Dumervil, we're only paying you half of your base salary this year since you didn't make the final 53.”

    It just reeks of trying to circumvent strict rules on injured players. As you said though, we'll find out eventually.

  • http://broncotalk.net Kyle

    Injured reserve guarantees the player's base salary but they obviously wouldn't be eligible for playing incentives, which can be a significant part of a rookie deal.

    I'm not sure about roster bonuses (they're technically not a member of the 53).

    All that having been said, McDaniels said today Kenny was very involved in the decision to be placed on IR. Either way I don't want to speculate about Kenny's possible motives.

  • Dan

    The message is about accessing available and affordable help before taking your own life. AA is just one example.

  • herc_rock

    Players are fully paid when they're on IR. Players on IR really have more stability and rights than active roster guys (can't get released, can't get traded, etc.). They can interact with the organization and the players as much or little as they wish.

    It's senseless to speculate as to why someone committed suicide. If there's a note and they release it or describe the tone and tenor of it, fine. Otherwise, what's the difference? Kenny clearly had problems that went well beyond the Broncos and/or his NFL career.

  • Dan

    As a member of AA, I share and receive support, therapy, and advice from other alchoholics. Shedding the alcohol is just one small part of learning to live sober…The much harder work is the work we have to do on ourselves. I am so sorry that Kenny did not get help, and it is important that everyone knows that inexpensive help is all around us…AA meetings for example are free (if you cannot afford it) or $1 (if you can afford it). The other important message is we don't have to deal with all of life's disappointments alone…It is not a sign of weakness it is a sign of wisdom to realize this before it is too late. RIP Kenny.

  • herc_rock

    Spurrier was really shaken up during that interview. I guess Kenny was at the SC game on Sat. and met with the team and everybody.

  • herc_rock

    What? Where are you getting this booze stuff from?

  • http://broncotalk.net Kyle

    Yeah, saw the video. He had to stop taking questions.

  • Harriscorey

    its dissappointing when a preson takes his own life espesially a bronco

  • http://nation.theorangepage.com/blog Ian Henson

    He allegedly had a clause in his contract that provided for the team to pay him less in his base salary if he did not make the 53 man roster (which he didn't).

    It's also being speculated that he was having money troubles due to this.

  • Nisse

    I hope the people who said nfl players dont have any problems at all and shouldnt complane understand that being a player isnt allways a walk in the park.

  • herc_rock

    That's a giant violation of a number of CBA rules.

  • http://nation.theorangepage.com/blog Ian Henson

    I can't imagine that it would be. The team can't afford to pay practice squad players the same amount as players who made the 53 man squad. I'm not an expert, but I imagine the truth will come to light soon enough.

  • herc_rock

    That's completely different. All PS guys have been released, voiding whatever deal they had in place, and then re-sign as a PS player.

    Every team in the league would try to have this clause in their players contracts if it was allowed – “Sorry Elvis Dumervil, we're only paying you half of your base salary this year since you didn't make the final 53.”

    It just reeks of trying to circumvent strict rules on injured players. As you said though, we'll find out eventually.

  • http://broncotalk.net Kyle

    Injured reserve guarantees the player's base salary but they obviously wouldn't be eligible for playing incentives, which can be a significant part of a rookie deal.

    I'm not sure about roster bonuses (they're technically not a member of the 53).

    All that having been said, McDaniels said today Kenny was very involved in the decision to be placed on IR. Either way I don't want to speculate about Kenny's possible motives.

  • Dan

    The message is about accessing available and affordable help before taking your own life. AA is just one example.