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As the NFL community mourns the passing of Broncos receiver Kenny McKinley, who died Monday of an apparent suicide, Dolphins receiver Brandon Marshall, McKinley’s teammate last year in Denver, is taking the news especially hard.

“I’m obviously, you know, I’m in shock. I still don’t believe it,” Marshall struggled to say today on his weekly appearance on WQAM’s Michael Irvin Show. “That’s like my younger brother. I remember leaving Denver in March and him coming over right before I got traded, and us sitting down and talking about different things. And man … gol-ly, … that’s tough.”

Marshall, who like the rest of Broncos Nation has also dealt with the deaths of former teammates Darrent Williams and Damien Nash in recent years, said McKinley, 23, had a “life ain’t that serious” attitude and was always quick with a joke.

“We used to give him a hard time, but we respected him and we love what he brought to our team,” Marshall said. “Every day he had a smile on his face. It didn’t matter whether we won or lost, or what was going on, if we had some tough times in our segment room or an argument. He was always the same person, and he always found a way to put a joke out that would make everyone laugh.”

“That’s why I didn’t understand it,” Marshall added. “I don’t understand how he was so strong for so long and let this beat him.”

McKinley, who broke Sterling Sharpe’s records at South Carolina for career receptions (207) and receiving yards (2,781), was out for the season after suffering in August his second injury to his left knee in eight months. Marshall talked about the pressure that can overwhelm a player trying to meet expectations.

“There’s a lot of pressure being a young professional athlete, whether there’s injuries, family, this newfound success,” Marshall said. “And it takes a strong person to handle it.”

Though McKinley’s cause of death has initially been ruled as a self-inflicted gunshot to the head, Marshall said he hopes authorities continue to explore every angle.

“I know they said suicide ,but I hope they don’t just close this case without really, truly looking farther into it, because, you know, his personality just doesn’t match this,” Marshall said. “This just doesn’t go with what they’re saying.”