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“He was just excited about having his son here. He showed no signs of depression, no signs of awkwardness. He was 100 percent himself,” Boyd said. “He was 100 percent Kenny, laughing and joking, playing. And he was absolutely normal, he was fine.”

She did say, however, that she could tell over the last month that McKinley was having a hard time with not being able to play football or be around his teammates every day. But she said it wasn’t like he was struggling to the point anyone feared he would harm himself.

She said neither she nor her friend who was helping take care of the boy knew McKinley had a gun.

“We had no idea,” she said. “Nobody knew.”

McKinley’s teammates and coaches said Tuesday that they didn’t see any hint the gregarious 23-year-old wide receiver was suicidal. Neither did the players at his alma mater, South Carolina, when he visited them earlier this month.

“I actually saw Kenny a week and a half ago. He was over here picking up some stuff out of his locker,” Broncos linebacker Wesley Woodyard said. “He was always a guy that used to love to joke with me and I would joke back and forth with him. But he had a big smile on his face. He just walked out of the building.

“And that’s the last thing we remember, that huge smile. Like coach said, he always showed every tooth in his mouth, just smiling and being happy.”

This is the third time in four years the Broncos have had to deal with the death of a teammate under stunning circumstances. Cornerback Darrent Williams, 24, was slain in a drive-by shooting on New Year’s Day 2007, and three months later running back Damien Nash, 24, collapsed and died after a charity basketball game in St. Louis.

Broncos coach Josh McDaniels said in a tearful news conference Tuesday that nobody with the Broncos sensed any warning signs from McKinley about his state of mind.

“We’ve all seen him recently. He’s been the same person every time we see him. Liked junk food and chips and things like that,” McDaniels said. “He was in the cafeteria, or in the training room, when we were seeing him the last so many weeks here. Nothing that would alarm us to anything like this.”

Woodyard said McKinley was his usual joking and jovial self in recent weeks even as he was recovering from his second knee operation this year.

“Every memory that we have of Kenny is a joke and a big smile,” Woodyard said.

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.

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