Denver Broncos wide receiver Kenny McKinley was found dead today of an apparent self-inflicted gun shot wound. He was only 23.
McKinley was selected by the Broncos in the fifth round of the 2009 NFL Draft after a distinguished career in the college ranks playing for Steve Spurrier at the University of South Carolina.
In his rookie season, McKinley was relegated to special teams as a kick returner. He sustained a knee injury late last season and was on injured reserve at the time of his death.
Obviously, when a young man has his whole life ahead of him and particularly when he is in a situation where he has some degree of financial stability it boggles the mind. Did he have a history of mental illness? Was he prescribed psychotropic medication and simply overcome by its side effects? Was he simply insecure about the state of his football career? Was it a broken heart? Was it a combination of all these factors or something altogether different?
For whatever the reason those related to McKinley by blood and those who called him friend will be forever bewildered and saddened by his act.
A couple of years ago, I wrote this piece about suicide after writer David Foster Wallace took his own life.