ENGLEWOOD — Kendall Hinton has had quite the NFL journey.
Nearly a year ago, the Broncos wide receiver was called on to be the team's emergency quarterback against the Saints in Week 12. Since then, Hinton has returned to his normal position, making the practice squad in August, being elevated to the active roster in Week 2 and catching his first career touchdown last Sunday against the Steelers.
While some thought that game against the Saints might be the last we saw of Hinton, he's made sure to prove people wrong.
“I knew that’d probably be my last game as a quarterback," Hinton joked Wednesday, as he reflected on his journey. "But no, no, no. I knew there was a lot of work to do. I feel like I have a lot of potential to just continue to develop. You never know where you’re going to be.”
Hinton had two catches for 25 yards and a touchdown Sunday, as he's been called upon to help replace Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler, who have each suffered injuries this season. But few expected Hinton to be in this position.
He showed tremendous poise and courage last season, being thrown into a less-than-ideal situation, but Hinton has only been a wide receiver for just over two years. He played quarterback until his fifth season at Wake Forest.
To come this far is a testament to his work ethic.
"He keeps getting better," coach Vic Fangio said. "He’s the guy — like we talked about in camp, you kept asking me who’s playing (well) and who’s looking good in OTAs and training camp. About every other day I mentioned him. He just keeps improving. He’s become a good receiver. With the injuries to Jerry and KJ, he’s gotten an opportunity to play more."
In more ways than one, Hinton has helped the Broncos not only on the field, but in the locker room.
"Kendall — he’s a guy that’s just quiet, man," quarterback Teddy Bridgewater said. "He doesn’t say much. He just comes to work every day and does everything that we ask of him. He might have to go in and run five go routes in a row and he won’t complain. He’s a guy who’s very selfless. I think everyone saw that last year when he had to go play quarterback against the Saints. Those are the type of guys we want on this team."
So for Hinton, he'll forever be grateful to the Broncos for the opportunity he's been given. But he also knows there's a lot that's yet to be told of his story.
“Every day, I wake up and it’s crazy — I’m playing in the NFL," Hinton said. "It’s such a blessing, such an honor. Every day it’s wild. This journey continues, and through all the bumps in the road, I’m so appreciative of where I’m at now. Like you said, it’s good to sit back and enjoy those moments, but also preparing myself for what’s next.”