Denver must deal with death once again

September, 20, 2010
9/20/10
11:30
PM ET
Several Denver Broncos were spending the night after their first win of the season honoring the memory of a fallen teammate.

The Broncos have gotten used to dealing with death, if that is even possible. Sadly, they must face the death of a teammate for the third time in less than four years

Second-year receiver Kenny McKinley was found dead Monday of an apparent suicide. He was 23. McKinley was a receiver who was a fifth-round pick in 2009. He was on the injured reserve.

Once again, Denver will be saddled with heavy hearts.

Hours after the 2006 season ended, popular starting right cornerback Darrent Williams was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting after a New Year’s Eve party in downtown Denver hosted by Denver Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin. Fifty-five days later, reserve running back Damien Nash died of a heart attack after hosting a charity basketball event. Williams and Nash were both 24.

Monday night, Denver star cornerback Champ Bailey and former safety John Lynch hosted an event to benefit the memorial center named in Williams’ honor. Several current Denver players were scheduled to be at the event.

Nearly four years after Williams’ senseless death, the event was supposed to be joyous as the team and the Denver community remembered Williams.

Now this news.

The deaths of Williams and Nash understandably affected the 2007 Broncos. There were funerals, tributes and the team wore helmet decals in memory of the two men. As time passed, it seemed Denver found a way to move on, although the team never forgot Williams and Nash.

Now, there will be more memorials and tributes to deal with.

Unlike Williams and Nash, I had never met McKinley. By all accounts, he was pleasant young man who was quick with a smile. This is a tragedy that the Broncos are all too familiar with.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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