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Woodyard said despite what it might look like to fans, NFL players have lots of pressures in their lives even though they’re living the dream.

“Well, you know, football’s a stressful job,” he said, adding that players have to reach out for help. “It’s the same thing with people in everyday life, you’ve got to talk to somebody in your life, so just to help you work out those problems.”

McKinley was a fifth-round draft choice out of South Carolina in 2009. He remains South Carolina’s all-time leading receiver with 207 catches for 2,781 yards. He returned to the school earlier this month, watching the Gamecocks beat Georgia 17-6 and visiting with his college coach, Steve Spurrier.

None of his old friends in Columbia, S.C., sensed anything was wrong.

“No, all of our players said the same thing. When he was here, he was happy, smiling, the usual Kenny,” Spurrier said. “In fact, I think he watched the Georgia game from up in my office there (in Williams-Brice Stadium) because he was on crutches from his knee surgery. I saw him up there right after the game. He was his usual self. It’s hard to comprehend how that can happen.”

People who are dealing with depression or suicidal thoughts aren’t always outwardly despondent, said Dr. Michael Allen, director of research at the University of Colorado Denver Depression Center. He said suicidal individuals don’t always reach out for help, even to those closest to them.

“Warning signs depend on the run up,” Allen said, adding that suicidal people who have been depressed and thinking about killing themselves for weeks may sometimes reach out, or have trouble keeping a happy face to cover up their feelings.

“For many people in the mild to moderate range you wouldn’t know they’re depressed. They’re able to put up a good front of joviality,” Allen said.

Allen, who wasn’t addressing McKinley’s death specifically, said reaching out can be difficult for those in the military or on sports teams: “In any group of men where toughness is valued, talking about anything that may be viewed as weakness goes against the grain,” Allen said.

The Broncos gathered Tuesday morning on their normal day off and met with grief counselors to help them deal with the death of their friend, who was on injured reserve after hurting his left knee in August.

“We prayed for his family and him,” McDaniels said.

The players decided to leave McKinley’s locker in place for the remainder of the season as a shrine to their teammate.

There will also be a moment of silence Sunday before their game against Indianapolis and players will wear white decals with No. 11 in navy on their helmets.

McDaniels said there’s no way to make this a normal work week in preparing for the Colts, suggesting every player and coach will grieve in their own way.

“We’ve got to play with him on our shoulders and in our hearts,” Woodyard said.

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