Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Kenny McKinley (1987-2010)

Incredibly sad news out of Denver last night, with word coming of the death of Broncos wide receiver Kenny McKinley. McKinley is South Carolina's all time leader in receptions, and was a terrific player for the Gamecocks. He'd been drafted by Denver in 2009 but hadn't been able to play much yet due to injury issues, including a knee problem that had him on IR for this season. Having covered McKinley his senior year, it's inconceivable to imagine he's gone. Indications are that his death was a suicide, which is hard to understand considering what an upbeat and positive guy he was. McKinley was just in Columbia ten days ago for the Georgia game. My wife talked to him and said he seemed the same as ever. It's just another reminder that you never know what's really going on with anyone but yourself.

Even though McKinley last played for the Gamecocks in 2008, he's got tons of friends in that locker room. With a roadtrip to Auburn next on their schedule, Steve Spurrier will have a major challenge getting them focused and ready for a big game. He dealt with a death at Florida in 2001 with Eraste Autin, but that came in July so there was more time to regroup. Autin was also a true freshman, and while that certainly hit Spurrier and his team hard it's not the same impact as the death of a guy you spent years with. Mckinley was a quarterback in high school and developed into a terrific college player under the tutelage of Spurrier and his son Steve JR. as WR coach. Here's a signature McKinley moment against Kentucky a few years ago.

There's other stuff going on worth blogging about on an ordinary day, but I don't think this entry should have anything else on it. This has to be incredibly hard on McKinley's family and friends, and I hope they eventually find peace about it. R.I.P.

1 comment:

jacob said...

Thoughts and Prayers go to the Mckinley family and the state of South Carolina. Sad news.