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|McKinley looking to contribute more in 2010|
Kenny McKinley, who Steve Spurrier called the best wide receiver he ever coached, is set for a breakout season with the Denver Broncos.
McKinley was born in Baton Rouge and is the son of Ferriday native Karen Scott McKinley, who graduated from Ferriday High in 1977, and Kenneth McKinley, formerly of Baker.
McKinley enters his second season in the NFL trying to develop a role in the offense along with receiving kickoffs.
McKinley was selected by the Broncos in the fifth round of the 2009 NFL draft and played in eight games over the course of last year's season.
With one year of experience at hand, McKinley enters the 2010 system familiar with the Broncos' system.
"Coming in as a rookie you don't know too much of anything coming straight out of college," McKinley said. "Getting into a new offense and things of that sort is pretty tough. I've got another year under my belt learning plays and I'm trying to develop a role into the offense."
McKinley was highly recruited by Spurrier as a wide receiver out of South Cobb High School in Mableton, Ga.
After starting every year at South Carolina and breaking the career receiving record with 207 catches for 2,781 yards and 19 touchdowns, McKinley made his way to the NFL.
The Denver Broncos reported to training camp on July 31 where they had to check in at 7 a.m. and stay until 10 p.m.
"The worst thing about training camp is the hours and the fact that you don't get to sleep in your own bed," McKinley said. "It's a tough month-and-a-half, but that's what separates what we do from a normal person."
Denver made a couple of offseason moves that got Bronco fans' attention.
The Broncos drafted Florida quarterback Tim Tebow in the first round of the NFL Draft and lost receiver Brandon Marshall to the Miami Dolphins.
"With 'B' (Brandon Marshall) gone, it's a big opportunity for everybody to have a chance to step up and shine," McKinley said. "That's the good thing about it. But the bad thing is that he was a good teacher and player of the game. He was my mentor when I got here and educated me on the NFL. He is a good friend, also."
McKinley, who faced off against Tebow a couple times in his collegiate career, now has one of the best football players the NCAA has ever seen on his squad.
"Tebow is going to be a player," McKinley said. "He has a good work ethic and is always trying to make himself better. I'm excited to see how we're going to use him in the offense this year and see how he'll play in the NFL. I know Tebow's a hard-worker and a good person, so the sky is the limit for him."
The Broncos started the season last year going 6-0, but finished the season losing eight of their last 10 to finish 8-8.
This season, Bronco fans are hoping that the 6-0 team returns to form and makes some noise in the playoffs.
Broncos' head coach Josh McDaniels has taken some criticism from fans for some of his offseason moves.
In the first week of free agency, the Broncos signed three defensive linemen in unrestricted free agents — Justin Bannan, Jarvis Green and Jamal Williams — and re-signed another — Le Kevin Smith.
"Josh made the moves in the offseason that we needed," McKinley said. "We got the defensive linemen that we needed and we got all the players I feel like we needed to get. Now it's about buying into the scheme and everybody being on the same page. If everybody is on the same page I think we'll be an unstoppable force simply because we have a smart head coach that's leading us all the way."
McDaniels is the youngest coach in the NFL and McKinley speaks highly of his coach.
"I think he's a heck of a coach," McKinley said. "He's a young, intelligent coach. He's one of the smartest coaches I've been around. I played under Coach Spurrier, who was one of the smartest guys I knew and Coach McDaniels brings another dimension to the table. Just being under two different coaches like that is an honor for me."
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