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Cook still in shock over McKinley's death

It was not exactly a good 48 hours for Titans tight end Jared Cook.

After one catch for five yards on Sunday and a 19-11 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, more bad news was ensuing for the second year player from South Carolina.

A text from agent Christina Phillips on Monday afternoon would change his day, week, life forever. The news: Cook's former South Carolina teammate Kenny McKinley of the Denver Broncos, had apparently taken his own life with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

“It didn’t sound like something he would do,” a somber Cook said. “Kenny was a foolish kind of guy, always smiling and clowning around.”

McKinley and Cook arrived together at South Carolina in 2005 and were roommates for two years.

After hearing the news, Cook said he was still in disbelief, especially that a gun was involved.

“Kenny was scared of guns. There were no red flags at all,” Cook said on Wednesday. “Everybody is still in shock. He was a great guy and a great father. A good guy all around.”

McKinley was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the fifth round of the 2009 NFL draft. He had been on the team's injured reserve list since December 2009 with a knee injury.

Cook said after practice on Wednesday that he had tried to reach out to McKinley recently but could not, apparently because McKinley's phone number had changed.

The Titans and Broncos are scheduled to play at LP Field in week four on Sunday, Oct. 3, and Cook said he had wanted to reach out to his former teammate with that game coming up.

Cook said that the last time he had been with McKinley was back in the spring, right before OTAs (organized team activities) started.

McKinley was the career leader in receptions, receiving yards, and consecutive games with a reception at South Carolina.

Cook said he had not spoken with Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier, since the unfortunate news came out on Monday. But he did talk to McKinley’s mother, and the family hopes to have a memorial service in Georgia on Monday.

Cook has not yet talked to Jeff Fisher about attending the funeral, but said he hopes to attend.

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