Denver Broncos wide receiver Kenny McKinley was found dead in his home yesterday in an apparent suicide.
Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said authorities were called to McKinley’s home in Centennial, Colo., 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’s death is the latest in a series for tragedies for the Broncos in recent years. Cornerback Darrent Williams was slain in a drive-by shooting on New Year’s Day 2007, and three months later backup running back Damien Nash collapsed and died after a charity basketball game in St. Louis.
“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 today.
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.’’
McKinley was a second-year pro who was on the team’s injured reserve list because of a knee injury. He played in eight games as a rookie in 2009 with seven kick returns for 158 yards before going on injured reserve Dec. 29.
McKinley was a fifth-round draft choice out of South Carolina in 2009. He attended South Cobb High in Austell, Ga.
Clausen named starter
A day before his 23d birthday, Jimmy Clausen
received a job promotion he seemed destined for since before he entered high school: NFL starting quarterback.
In a rapid ascension made possible by Matt Moore’s six turnovers and Carolina’s 0-2 start, Panthers coach John Fox announced the second-round pick from Notre Dame will start Sunday’s game against Cincinnati.
“I’ve dreamt it for my whole life, to be a starting quarterback in the National Football League,’’ said Clausen, who went unbeaten in high school and was one of the nation’s top college recruits before playing in the Notre Dame spotlight. “It’s real exciting, but at same time it’s a job. You’ve got to go prepare.’’
Clausen, whose stunning fall to 48th overall pick amid concerns about his attitude was one of the top stories of April’s draft, will take over the NFL’s 28th-rated offense as Carolina seeks to avoid a second straight 0-3 start.
“We’ve just not been getting it done,’’ said Fox, facing his own uncertainty in the final year of his contract. “Jimmy is a guy we think highly of. I thought he made the most of his opportunities Sunday. We’ll see how it goes this week.’’
Clausen’s promotion was accelerated by Moore’s dismal start to the season, a steep fall from his strong 4-1 finish as a starter last season that helped pave the way for seven-year starter Jake Delhomme’s release in March.
“I’m not happy with it. I understand, I accept it. But it’s definitely not what you want to hear as a player,’’ Moore said. “I’ll be behind Jimmy as the weeks go on.’’
Kolb in, Vick out for Eagles Michael Vick
is more likely to begin the game at wide receiver than quarterback this week.
Eagles coach Andy Reid said Kevin Kolb will be the starting quarterback at Jacksonville Sunday, despite a pair of impressive performances by Vick.
Kolb has been cleared to practice after missing the second half of a season-opening loss to Green Bay and Sunday’s win over Detroit because of a concussion. So he’ll start unless he has a setback this week.
Vick still will play in Philadelphia’s version of the wildcat offense. In the first play of the season, he lined up as a receiver.
“I think it’s a beautiful situation,’’ Reid said yesterday. “I’ve got two quarterbacks that can play at a very important position.’’
Vick threw for 175 yards and one touchdown and ran for 103 in a 27-20 loss to the Packers, nearly rallying the Eagles from a 17-point deficit. He had 284 yards passing and two TDs in a 35-32 win over the Lions in his first start in almost four years.
Titans stick with Young Jeff Fisher
said there’s no quarterback controversy in Tennessee, and Vince Young
will start Sunday against the New York Giants
and for the rest of the season. Fisher benched Young for the final quarter of the Titans’ 19-11 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers
. . . Raiders coach Tom Cable
said he has a good idea of who will start at quarterback this week — but isn’t ready to announce it. Cable pulled ineffective starter Jason Campbell
after the first half Sunday. Bruce Gradkowski
came in and rallied the Raiders (1-1) to a 16-14 victory over the St. Louis Rams
. . . Quarterback Byron Leftwich
has re-signed with the Steelers after being released to create a roster spot for a defensive lineman. Leftwich might start Sunday’s game at Tampa Bay. Meanwhile, the Steelers aren’t saying yet how long quarterback Dennis Dixon
will be out with the left knee injury he suffered in Sunday’s victory over Tennessee . . . The Jaguars have lost backup quarterback Luke McCown
for the season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, suffered at San Diego Sunday.
Revis not out — yet
The New York Jets’ shutdown cornerback isn’t being shut down just yet. An MRI exam revealed that Darrelle Revis
has a strained left hamstring, but he would not rule himself out of New York’s game at Miami Sunday night. “They just said it’s strained and it could take one to two weeks, or it could take a week,’’ Revis said. “It depends on how my body recovers.’’ Revis, who was limited in practice last week because of tightness in the hamstring, immediately grabbed at his leg after Randy Moss
made a spectacular, one-handed 34-yard touchdown grab with 53 seconds left in the first half of New York’s 28-14 win over New England. “I’m not going to step out on the field until I actually feel 100 percent,’’ Revis said . . . Meanwhile, Washington’s DeAngelo Hall
, another of the NFL’s shutdown cornerbacks, has a solution for his team’s defensive shortcomings: He should cover each opponent’s top receiver. And Hall doesn’t really seem to care what defensive coordinator Jim Haslett
thinks of that plan. “Don’t matter what he say. This is my team; this is my defense,’’ Hall said. Texans quarterback Matt Schaub
threw for a franchise-record 497 yards and three touchdowns in Houston’s 30-27 overtime victory Sunday against the Redskins.
Witten expects to return Cowboys
tight end Jason Witten
said he feels fine and expects to play this weekend at Houston. Witten said he had no headaches yesterday, a day after hitting his head on the turf during the loss to Chicago and being held out of the rest of the game by team doctors . . . Redskins coach Mike Shanahan
said an MRI on starting left tackle Trent Williams’s
injured left knee showed no structural damage, and his status for Washington’s game against the Rams won’t be known until later in the week . . . Rams tight end Billy Bajema
will be sidelined two to four weeks because of a knee injury and defensive lineman Darell Scott
has a high ankle sprain that also could put him out for as long as a month.
Jacobs rumors quashed
Giants coach Tom Coughlin
said disgruntled running back Brandon Jacobs
has neither asked to be traded nor requested a meeting to define his role. Rumors that Jacobs asked for a trade started circulating in the wake of the Giants’ 38-14 loss to the Colts Sunday. Jacobs was limited to four carries in the game and did not play after accidentally tossing his helmet about 10 rows into the stands behind the Giants’ bench after being stopped on a second-half run. Stadium security officials had to retrieve the helmet . . . Veteran Chad Clifton
remains the Packers’ starting left tackle. That doesn’t mean he’ll start against the Chicago Bears
next Monday night. Clifton was benched in favor of first-round rookie Bryan Bulaga
during Sunday’s victory over the Buffalo Bills
, and Packers coach Mike McCarthy
said he made the move because Clifton “didn’t look healthy.’’ . . . Browns center Alex Mack
accused Kansas City defensive lineman Shaun Smith
of grabbing his private parts during Sunday’s game. Mack said Smith, who played two seasons for the Browns before he was released last year, committed the dirty play in the second quarter. “I don’t have no comment,’’ Smith said. “I don’t recall doing anything like that.’’ . . . Authorities say Ravens assistant offensive line coach Andy Moeller
is facing drunken driving charges. Maryland State Police said the coach was arrested after being pulled over for speeding on the Maryland beltway early Saturday.
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