ENGLEWOOD, Colo. –The newest member of the Denver Broncos, fullback Jacob Hester, is excited to put a difficult stretch of 12 weeks behind him.
Hester spent his first four seasons in the NFL with the Chargers, where he started 23 games, rushed for 319 yards and one touchdown on 94 carries and added 55 receptions for 308 yards before spending this year looking for a new team. After trying out for four teams since the start of this season, he is pleased to be a Bronco.
"Being with one team your whole career, and then all of a sudden that ends, and for 11 or 12 weeks you kind of head home, not really knowing," Hester said. "You do the workouts, whatever, and hope to get in a good situation. And luckily I fell into a great one."
Head Coach John Fox said Hester is a quality addition to the roster, which lost running back Willis McGahee to injured reserve — with a designation for return -- because of a knee injury he suffered in Week 11.
"He's a very smart guy," Fox said of Hester. "He's a little more of a 'tweener (between a running back and fullback) type as far as a bigger, more physical type of back. He is very sharp in protections and he gives us a little bit different dimension than the guys we have on the roster at this point."
"We spent time with him in the workout, a lot of it protection-based, and he did an excellent job," he continued.
Though Monday marked Hester's first day as a Bronco, four previous seasons in the AFC West as a Charger made Denver a landing spot with some familiarity.
"I'm not going to lie, today in the weight room they broke it down on 'Broncos,' and that was a little weird saying Broncos," Hester said. "I'm excited, I'm familiar with a lot of the guys here because I've played against them the last four years in the division. I know a lot of them from college, (linebacker Wesley) Woodyard and (tight end Jacob) Tamme, I've played against them for a long time. It will be fun, something I'm looking forward to."
Hester first worked out for the Broncos coaching staff last week, when his effort drew praise and he was told to expect a phone call. But because of the timing of Thanksgiving and Denver's trip to Kansas City, Hester did not sign with his new team until Monday.
Joining a team like the Broncos, winners of six straight and owners of a four-game lead in the AFC West, Hester was happy with the way things worked out.
"You just never know what situation you're going to fall into, but being able to come into a team that's 8-3 and on a roll like this is pretty special," Hester said. "I'm very lucky."
As the heftiest of the Broncos' backs at 235 pounds, Hester is a big body capable of serving as a lead blocker and carrying the ball in short-yardage situations. But at the moment, his only expectation regarding his role is that he will be utilized on special teams.
"I don't know, I'll find out," Hester said of how he anticipates being used. "Obviously fullback's not a huge part of the offense here. So we'll see. I'm expecting it to be on special teams first, that being my background. We'll go from there."