Tag:Kenny McKinley
Posted on: March 21, 2011 11:15 pm

Everybody needs to watch their language

Duerson Posted by Mike Freeman

In a briefing of NFL reporters at the owner's meetings in New Orleans on Monday a league official described the union's decertfication as a sham calling it a "fake suicide."

"The fake suicide was a fake," said the official.

The official wasn't trying to be offensive but he forgot a few things in making such an insensitive remark.

The official forgot that in February former Chicago player Dave Duerson committed suicide with a gunshot to the chest.

The official forgot that police suspect former Denver player Kenny McKinley of committing suicide.

He forgot about the suicide of Andre Waters, a former Philadelphia Eagles player.

Or how Hall of Fame center Mike Webster tried several times to kill himself before falling to a heart attack.

The official wasn't trying to be insensitive but it's another sign of how ugly the impasse is getting between players and owners. I heard a tape of the conversation and almost fell out of my chair.

Maybe we should all watch our language as this battle moves forward.

This post was cross-posted from Mike Freeman's Freestyle blog. For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: December 3, 2010 10:02 am

Hot Routes 12.03.10: Is DeSean wary?

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

- Perhaps, DeSean Jackson would like to call the plays for the Eagles, as well. That’s a bit of a stretch but perhaps not too far out of the question. According to ESPN’s Sal Palantonio, via Pro Football Talk, Jackson and his representatives would like him to run less shallow crossing routes. Apparently, he’s concerned about concussions and how that would hurt his marketability for his next contract (because, then, he’d be liable to take a big hit from a linebacker or a safety). The NFL Network asked Jackson about this after the Thursday night game, and Jackson didn’t really give much credence to the report.

- So, Ben Roethlisberger actually has a broken foot, not a sprained one like the Steelers had been saying. Doesn’t matter. He’s still going to play this weekend, and apparently, it shouldn’t affect anything he would normally do on the field. It probably won’t feel real good, though.

- Remember that $150,000 UFL transfer fee that prevented a number of players from signing with NFL teams? Yeah, now it’s a $25,000 fee. Much more palatable, I’m sure, to NFL GMs and owners.

- Bengals fans want offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski’s head on a platter (actually, this has been their wish for the past several years). Here’s how Bratkowski responded to their bloodlust.

- Panthers CB Chris Gamble talked to reporters about why he missed practice last week, causing him to miss a start. Apparently, he made some kind of “out of mind decision.”

Well, what do you know? The Chargers special teams have begun to play better (not that they could have played much worse). That’s one reason why San Diego is streaking.

Jets kicker Nick Folk knows he’s on shaky ground, especially after the club brought in Kris Brown for a tryout Tuesday. Not surprisingly, Folk had a good day of practice Thursday.

Dolphins WR Brian Hartline has drawn five pass interference penalties from opposing defenses this year. The rest of the Miami receiving corps combined? Zero.

The Broncos said their memories of Kenny McKinley won’t be clouded by the recent revelations of his gambling problems.

Three Minnesota counties
have been wooing the Vikings to build a new stadium so the organization can remain in-state.

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Posted on: December 1, 2010 6:23 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2010 11:39 pm

Police: McKinley had a 'major gambling problem'

Posted by Will Brinson

The Arapahoe County Sheriff's Department has closed the case on Kenny McKinley, the former Denver Bronco and South Carolina Gamecock who committed suicide earlier this year, and revealed some very tragic details about McKinley's life leading up to his death, namely that he had a significant gambling debts when he took his own life.

The 131-page Arapahoe County Sheriff's Department report obtained by the Associated Press also contains information from the Sheriff's Department indicating that McKinley purchased the gun from teammate Jabar Gaffney. However, the Arapahoe Sheriff Grayson Robinson said there was nothing illegal about the sale.

"Kenny told me he wanted a gun for his personal protection and being that I have a couple of legally owned firearms, I sold him one of mine that I didn't want anymore," Gaffney said in a statement to deputies.

McKinley also discussed the possibility of suicide with three of his teammates, including former Broncos quarterback Tom Brandstater, who told the investigators that he lent McKinley $65,000 and that McKinley owed $40,000 to a casino in Las Vegas.

Brandstater told investigators that about a week before he lent him the money, McKinley said "that he could save everyone the burden and just kill himself." Brandstater said it was awkward and they laughed it off.

In addition to the money he owed Brandstater -- which had only been paid back via items McKinley gave his teammate as collateral -- McKinley had been ordered by a South Carolina court to pay $3,000 a month in child support and expressed to teammates that he was concerned about his ability to take care of his young son.

At the insistence of his financial advisor, Brandstater had a contract drawn up between he and McKinley, a copy of which the Denver Broncos had in their possession, indicating the debt and documenting the collateral (two watches valued at $30,000, the titles to McKinley's two cars and a gold necklace) McKinley gave to Brandstater for the loan.

Leading up to the loan, Brandstater told investigators, that he and McKinley had dinner for 10 straight nights trying to "hash out ways to fix" McKinley's financial problems. 

McKinley's father, Kenneth McKinley, as saying that he and his wife were getting many letters for their son at their home in Mableton, Ga., from casinos in Las Vegas. He said bill collectors also were calling his house asking for his son and that he had spoken with his son about managing his money better.

The elder McKinley said he also suspected his son was having financial problems because he had only recently begun using a credit card that he'd given him in college. Neither Brandstater, Gaffney or McKinley's father had returned messages from the AP at the time of the report, and the Broncos declined to comment out of respect to McKinley's family.

AP Sports Writer Pat Graham contributed to this report. For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: October 1, 2010 3:26 pm

Five questions (or more) with KC Star's Kent Babb

Kansas City's defense is one reason why the team has started the season 3-0 (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Kent Babb has covered the Chiefs for the Kansas City Star for the past three seasons. Finally, he's getting to cover a football team that actually is successful.

We talked to Babb this week about why the Chiefs have performed so well, why coach Todd Haley is different this season, how QB Matt Cassel responds to criticism and the death of Kenny McKinley.

Previous Five Questions (or more) With …:

Sept. 24: Texans WR Kevin Walter

Sept. 17: former Bengals, Titans DT John Thornton

Sept. 11: Seahawks RB Leon Washington

1. CBSSports.com: I think everybody is surprised to see the Chiefs start 3-0. Is this something that anybody could have expected? How did you think they’d do before the season started?

Kent Babb: I thought they’d win six or seven games. I thought if they got off to a really great start and upset San Diego, then maybe they’ll win eight or possibly nine. Never in 100 years did we think they’d start 3-0. No way in the world. But that’s what happened. I don’t know why that is. I think a lot of things have gone right. Todd Haley has coached extremely well. Somehow it’s just happened. People are crowing about how they saw this coming. I don’t think anybody – even the people in the organization – would have thought they’d start this well. There’s just no reason. It’s insane to think they would start like this.

2. CBS: So much has been said about Haley and about how last year, he was so demanding of his team. But now he’s laughing and making players honorary coaches, and the team is responding. How much of an impact did it have that he’s kind of changed his coaching style?

Babb: Maybe some. Part of it is a response to what he did last year. I was like a lot of people in saying, ‘What is this guy doing?’ He was screaming at everybody and embarrassing players on the field. Now he makes the point that it was part of his strategy. I think it’s a couple things. I think that no person is ready to be an NFL head coach. That extends to Todd Haley. I think part of what he had to do was assert himself, because he didn’t take the traditional path to being a coach. Part of it – and he says this was on purpose – was because the team was so lacking in discipline and focus, he had to come and be a jerk for a season. He had to be a complete maniac. Once they understood that, he could take his foot off the gas. That makes sense psychologically. I don’t think the players liked him a lot of last year. But now it’s gotten to the point where players are understanding a little bit. I read a thing the other day where he’s always texting Brandon Flowers and saying, ‘Darrelle Revis is SO much better than you.’ That’s part of his mind game. But guys are starting to respond to it, because they think, ‘Nobody is this over the top.'

3. CBS: It’s hilarious to read your Twitter feed on Sundays because of how much you rip Matt Cassel. How is this team playing so well when they’ve got a guy who’s 25th in the league in passing? I know they lead the NFL in rushing, but the defense is OK and Cassel is running the show. How are the Chiefs doing it?

Babb: They did it the first two games just by the skin of their teeth. The last game, they made what could be the biggest adjustment of the year – scaling down their expectations of Matt Cassel. It was right when the second quarter began. They ran these short and intermediate routes instead of throwing the deep ball. They were throwing to (Dexter) McCluster, (Tony) Moeaka and (Jamaal) Charles and letting them do something with it. That’s how this team will score points. If you’re counting on Matt Cassel to lead you on these heroic drives, it’s not going to happen. For every one great ball he throws, there’s six or seven ones that aren’t. It’s what the Chiefs will have to get used to, because he’s not a great quarterback. They’ll have to rely on other weapons. They did that against San Francisco, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence they scored 31 points and, by the way, Cassel threw for the most yards of the season.

CBS: It’s easy for a national guy to rip on him, because he or she is not going to be in the locker room the next day. But you’re there every day. Assuming he knows what you write about him, how do you and Cassel get along?

Babb: With Matt Cassel – and this goes back to the New England days – these guys are trained to put on a good face. They never admit they read or see anything. I don’t believe that, because I think this team is very sensitive and very aware about what’s said about them, maybe more than anyone else. Publicly, they act like they don’t hear anything. Only occasionally does Matt Cassel show where he’s bothered by it. Before the season in a press conference, you could tell our questions were getting under his skin. It was a very bizarre few minutes. One of the radio guys asked, ‘What do you have to do to get the fans back on your side?’ You could tell Cassel was starting to hear it. I asked him, ‘You’re a guy who’s come back from some stuff. Do you relish proving people wrong?’ He got a little teary-eyed, and he pretty much said he only plays for his family and for the people who believe in him. The next question came but then he kind of walked out of the press conference. That’s the most real thing I’ve even seen out of him.”

4. CBS: Can the Chiefs keep up this run of success? Can they actually contend for the AFC West title?

Babb: I say yes for three reasons. No. 1, the defense is pretty good. It’s for real. The other two reasons are their schedule and the AFC West. Basically, it’s set up for the Chiefs to win this year. San Diego has lost two games already, and they’re already two games behind the Chiefs in the standings after just three games. The Chiefs will come back to reality the next two weeks when they go to Indy and Houston. We’ll see what they’re made of. If the defense can keep those two offenses in check – even if they don’t win those games – maybe they’re sort of for real.

5. CBS:
You used to cover the University of South Carolina before going to Kansas City. When were you there?

Babb: For three years – in 2005, 06 and 07.

CBS: So, you must have gotten to know Kenny McKinley pretty well. I went to his funeral service on Monday and I’ve talked to other people, and everybody talked about how happy he always was. How he always had a smile on his face. What are your memories of him?

Babb: Mainly, like everybody else, I never would have thought anything like that would ever happen. All the stories are true. Anytime you ever saw him, he was in a good mood and telling funny stories. Even if the Gamecocks got beat pretty badly, he was the guy who saw the sunshine. This goes to show you never know what’s going on. Whatever you see, it’s not necessarily representative of what’s going on in their mind. It was a pretty shocking thing for me. If you lined up 100 people who may be a candidate for a thing like this, Kenny would have been the last guy picked. There’s just no way you could have predicted it. It’s just sad somebody who had so much at a young age can’t find a way out of it, that he suffers so much, this is the route he finds.

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Posted on: September 28, 2010 1:07 am

McKinley's funeral service filled with joy

The hearse carrying the body of K. McKinley leaves after his funeral service (AP). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

AUSTELL, Ga. - With about 700 other people, I attended Kenny McKinley’s Monday morning funeral service at the Word of Faith Family Worship Center. We walked into the service at 11 a.m., and the sky was gray and it seemed about to rain. Two hours later, we walked out and the sun was shining.

The service inside matched the weather patterns outside.

It started mournfully. Rev. John Williams, the officiate, reminded everybody not to take any pictures or record the service using video or audio. A huge line waited to see McKinley’s open casket. The ushers spoke in soft voices and directed people to their seats.

By the end of a service that was filled with joy, the energy of the people leaving was bright and sunny.

Before I get to that, I’ll say this: Broncos LB Wesley Woodyard gave a nice mini-eulogy, saying “Every day, (McKinley would come into the locker room and teach 61 men how to laugh and smile. I’ve never seen anybody in my life that taught everybody to smile every single day. Every single day.”

Others spoke their memories about McKinley. Former Gamecocks teammates, including Sidney Rice and Eric Norwood were there, as was coach Steve Spurrier. McKinley’s relatives spoke passionately and spoke well.

The best story we heard was from a Columbia, S.C. businessman named John Barbour, who employed McKinley during the summer months when McKinley played for the Gamecocks.

A couple days before South Carolina was to play Georgia in 2008, Barbour asked McKinley to come to the office to meet one of his biggest fans. It was a nine-year-old boy named Andrew Smith, who suffered from brain cancer. One of his last wishes was to meet his favorite Gamecocks player – McKinley.

McKinley, because he was tired, said he would stay five or 10 minutes. Almost two hours later, he was still there.

About a year-and-a-half later, Smith died, and when Barbour called McKinley to tell him the news, McKinley cried.

From my unedited story not yet posted on the Denver Post web site:

As McKinley left Barbour’s office that day in 2008, Smith stopped him and said: “I don’t know if I’ll ever see you again, but I’ll see you one day in heaven.”

The comment made a huge impact on McKinley, and he never forgot Smith.

“Out of all the players who went through, Kenny was the one; Kenny was the guy Andrew loved,” Barbour said. “I even asked Andrew why he liked Kenny so much, and Andrew said, ‘Because he always smiles.’ We talked about how they’d throw the football around in heaven together one day. I’m convinced they’re doing that today.”

The most spine-chilling event, though, was the song his aunt, Cathy McKinley Toliver, sang near the end of the service. It was “Ain’t No Need to Worry,” and it was absolutely amazing. People rose up from their seats, raised their arms to the sky and sang along with Toliver. They danced, the ushers moved their arms up and down, and the place basically went crazy. I seriously got chills up and down my spine. I’d never experienced anything like that at a funeral before.

For McKinley’s friends and family, it must have been a moment of pure joy and peace. And it’s a good thing too. They’ve needed it.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: September 26, 2010 11:23 am

McDaniels shows emotion this week

Denver coach Josh McDaniels showed emotion this week after the death of K. McKinley (AP). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Today, as you know, will be the first game the Broncos have to play following the apparent suicide of WR Kenny McKinley. It’s been six days since the news broke, but the wounds are still fresh, and despite what sounded like an uplifting memorial service Friday, today’s game vs. the Colts will be filled with emotion. 

The Denver Post’s Mark Kiszla has a column today saying that it’s good to see some emotion out of coach Josh McDaniels. A tough football coach who isn’t afraid to cry, Kiszla argues, shows how much heart McDaniels has in his chest.

Writes Kiszla:

During this tragic week, he grew up as a football coach.

"It has been a challenge for all of us. No bigger for me or our staff than it is for our team or the people that have been affected by the grieving process for Kenny," McDaniels said.

This is not to guarantee McDaniels can find a way today to beat Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, any more than there can be assurances McDaniels will ever lead the Broncos back to the Super Bowl.

But after watching his eyes mist with pain and listening to his voice crack from emotion while McDaniels vowed the team will get through the death of McKinley together, maybe it's time for Broncomaniacs who hate on the coach for being arrogant and insensitive to start rethinking a position that has been just plain ignorant.

Yes, McDaniels has been relatively obnoxious since he took over the Denver job before last season. Yes, his record stands at just .500. Yes, he’s alienated many fans with his treatment of Mike Shanahan’s old players.

And yes, he’s been great this week, and I believe it’s all sincere. But I bet many people aren’t willing to forget his arrogance and insensitivity and smugness quite yet. Still, if he can somehow find a way to beat the Colts today after the week his team has had, we all could agree that it’d be one hell of a coaching job.

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Posted on: September 24, 2010 10:59 pm

Teammates honor McKinley

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

It sounds like the 65-minute Kenny McKinley memorial service the Broncos held at their team facility was touching, and with his parents and six other family members in attendance – flown in by the organization – it brought a sense of closure for his former teammates.

The actual funeral will be held Monday morning in Austell, Ga., near his home town of Mableton, but for coach Josh McDaniels and kicker Matt Prater, it must have felt nice to tell stories about McKinley – who died Monday from a self-inflicted gunshot wound – to begin to salve some of the wounds left by his death.

The best story, though, came from McKinley’s father, Ken McKinley. Read the article in today’s Denver Post. There’s a nice story about a business card and a love of football.

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Posted on: September 23, 2010 2:58 pm
Edited on: September 23, 2010 2:58 pm

Woody Paige opens up on Kenny McKinley

Posted by Andy Benoit

Woody Paige of the Denver Post offered some very sobering and transparent thoughts on the suicide of Broncos wide receiver Kenny McKinley. We’ll pass along the intro to Paige’s column and link to the rest.

Why would a smart, personable, resolute, "happy-go-lucky" Kenny McKinley — with a college education, a young son, a $385,000 contract and a bright future in football and life — commit suicide Sept. 20, 2010?


I think I understand why.

I know an older man who eight years ago this month was committed to committing suicide.


The last, desperate, despondent, despicable act was all planned out. The Broncos were playing on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2002, against the 49ers. I would fly into San Francisco the day before, drive up to Napa Valley, enjoy a bottle of expensive red wine and check into a nice inn. The next morning I would head over to the coast and swim out in the Pacific Ocean far enough that I couldn't make it back to the beach.

My death would be termed an "accidental drowning," and my family and few friends would be horrified, but spared the humiliation.

I figured out the details while laying on the sofa staring at the ceiling for hours, as I did daily, and swallowing the pills a prominent Denver psychiatrist had prescribed over a period of months — Prozac, Ritalin, Xanax, Valium, Ambien and Zoloft — and swilling Jack Daniel's.

I had everything to live for, but wanted nothing more than to die.

I was suffering from deep depression.

To read the rest of Paige's column, click here.

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Category: NFL
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com