Broncos receiver Kenny McKinley was suffering from depression after undergoing knee surgery four weeks ago, according to a report released Tuesday night by the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s office.

The department ruled that McKinley’s death was a suicide caused by a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head while lying in his bed at his Aurora home. An autopsy performed by the Arapahoe County coroner’s office Tuesday morning confirmed the finding of suicide.

The report, quoting an investigator at the scene, said McKinley had made statements shortly after the surgery “that he should just kill himself.”

The report added McKinley didn’t know what he would do if he couldn’t play football because football was all he knew.

McKinley broke most of the significant receiving records at South Carolina previously held by Sterling Sharpe, but making it in the NFL had been a challenge since being selected by the Broncos in the fifth round of the 2009 draft.

McKinley, 23, played sparingly last year as a rookie and was placed on season-ending injured reserve with his knee problem just before training camp.

The report said McKinley was found in his upstairs bedroom with a pillow over his head. The gun, a black, semiautomatic Taurus, was inside the pillow case and McKinley’s right hand was just below the gun’s grip. The TV in the bedroom was on the NFL Network. Police said the second floor was “very smoky” and the attending officer “could smell a strong odor of marijuana.” A bag of leafy substance was found in a shoe box that was in the bedroom.

The report also said McKinley had been taking 500 milligrams of Naproxen, an over the counter pain reliever.
Police responded to a call from a female who was hysterical, saying her friend (McKinley) just shot himself, saying he had the gun in his hand and blood was coming out.

Among those listed who presented information were former Broncos’ running back Cory Boyd, who was McKinley’s roommate at the University of South Carolina and a close friend, Boyd’s wife Brittany, and several females. Brittany Boyd and Shantell Smith, both of Aurora, and a small child were outside McKinley’s residence when officers arrived. The child was McKinley’s son, Keon.

An interview with Smith revealed she and Brittany Boyd picked up McKinley and his son at the Denver International Airport on Sunday night. The two women stayed at McKinley’s house with his son while McKinley went to an unknown female’s home. He did not return to his home until 7 a.m. Monday.

The report said officers were told Shantell Smith and Brittany Boyd went with a person to get lunch at 12:15 p.m. When they returned they went upstairs to McKinley’s room and saw a sheet pulled over his body.
They decided to let him sleep, but then both women went upstairs around 3 p.m. and pulled the sheet down from his body.

Investigators with the Arapahoe County sheriff’s office said no suicide note was left by McKinley.