When the Broncos began their Week 12 preparations ahead of their game against the New Orleans Saints, most Broncos fans were probably unfamiliar with wide receiver Kendall Hinton.
By the end of the week, the entire NFL community across the country knew his name.
The former one-year collegiate quarterback stepped in to fill the void at the QB position after the team's other signal-callers were ruled ineligible because of COVID-19 protocols. Hinton completed just one of his nine pass attempts that day, as the team relied on a run-heavy approach in a 31-3 loss to the Saints. Still, players across the league tweeted their support for Hinton, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame now displays his wristband in Canton, Ohio.
Just as quickly as Hinton enjoyed his 15 minutes of fame, he exited the scene again. He returned to the team's practice squad after the game and did not appear in another contest in 2020. The Athletic's Nick Kosmider checked in with him for a recent piece, and it's clear that Week 12 remains as hard to believe for Hinton as it is for everyone else.
"To be honest with you, we're three or four months out from that game and it's still unreal to me," Hinton told The Athletic's Nick Kosmider. "I think back to the opportunity I got and it's just one of those stories you can't make up. I was just lucky enough to get that opportunity to get my name in the league and around the industry."
In a wide-ranging piece, Hinton reflects on the moments leading up to the game — including his path to the team's practice squad — and how he'll approach the 2021 season.
"I'm just ready," he told Kosmider, "for what's next."
Below the Fold
You know the top players on the Broncos' roster, but are you wondering if there are some other names you should know? Nick Kosmider picked out the team's under-the-radar players who could make an impact in 2021.
With free agency approaching, the Denver Post predicted what the Broncos would choose to do with each of their unrestricted free agents.