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A sheriff’s report released Tuesday says an investigator learned that McKinley, a second-year pro who played sparingly as a rookie, had been depressed over a knee surgery he had a month ago.

The elder McKinley said his son told him he was ready to start his rehab, which was scheduled to begin Tuesday, but was dejected at first when he tore cartilage in his surgically repaired left knee early in training camp and then was placed on IR Aug. 5

“I knew he was devastated that he was injured because he was really looking forward to having an outstanding year this year,” Kenneth McKinley said.

Although the sheriff’s report quoted one investigator as saying McKinley had talked about killing himself and that nobody believed he was serious, current and former teammates, his father and one of the female friends who found his body, Brittany Boyd, all said they didn’t see any signs he was suicidal.

Carolina cornerback Captain Munnerlyn, a college teammate, said he called McKinley to rib him after spotting him on crutches at the Georgia-South Carolina game. He said McKinley told him he was going to fly out to Charlotte, N.C., this coming weekend to see the Panthers face Cincinnati and fellow Gamecocks alum Jonathan Joseph.

“Talking to him, he seemed fine,” Munnerlyn said. “It seemed like nothing was wrong. I know he wanted to be out on the field, but I never would have thought this would happen.”

McKinley’s father said he didn’t see any hint of trouble.

“All I can tell you is Kenny was with me all last week and we put him on a plane on Sunday night, he and his son, going back to Denver and he was just as happy as he’s always been and he just said, ‘We’ll see you guys when Carolina plays Alabama,’” the elder McKinley said. “That’s when he was coming back.”

He said his son was dealing with relationship issues but didn’t seem despondent or unable to handle them.

“I don’t have any answers,” he said.

Teams across the NFL reminded players this week of the psychological help that’s available to allow them to cope with the stresses in their personal or professional lives _ especially when they’re injured.

“I reminded our guys, ‘We spend a lot of time around each other. If you feel like one of our teammates or buddies is breaking away from the pack a little bit, you go put your arm around him and check on him and see what’s going on,’” Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. “‘If you feel like there’s any alarm going off, you talk to me, you talk to your position coach, you talk to our chaplain, you talk to whoever about that person and let’s not leave him out there by himself.’”


AP Sports Writers Michael Marot in Indianapolis, Mike Cranston in Charlotte, N.C., and Teresa M. Walker, in Nashville, Tenn., and Associated Press Writer P. Solomon Banda in Denver contributed.