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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.

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.

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

News of his suicide touched players across the NFL.

Kenny was such a good guy, such a fun guy to be around,” said Minnesota Vikings receiver Sidney Rice, a college teammate of McKinley. “He was a happy guy who had a great sense of humor and he’s going to be missed by so many people. He was funny and always kept people around him upbeat. I’m shocked he’s gone.”

McKinley played in eight games as a rookie in 2009 with seven kick returns for 158 yards before going on injured reserve with a left knee injury on Dec. 29. He recovered and participated in the team’s offseason workouts but got hurt again during the first week of training camp and was placed on IR on Aug. 5.

McDaniels said McKinley took the news well when he went on IR again, ending his season.

“It was really a decision that we made together,” McDaniels said. “… He was working hard with his rehab.”

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