In his first two seasons with the Broncos, Kendall Hinton has been put in the unique position to play both quarterback and wide receiver.
Recruited as a quarterback at Wake Forest, Hinton made the transition to wide receiver during his junior season and has mostly stayed there since. He entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Broncos in 2020 and was later added to the practice squad midway through the season.
But when he finally got his first shot at playing in the NFL, it wasn't at receiver; it was at his old position, which he hadn't played in several years. After COVID-19 protocols prevented all four rostered Broncos QBs from suiting up vs. New Orleans, he was called upon to step in as Denver's emergency starting QB.
Hinton's only game action of 2020 was that lone outing vs. the Saints, where he completed one pass for 13 yards in his emergency QB capacity.
On Sunday, Hinton's time in Denver finally came full circle, as the WR hauled in his first career touchdown, lined up at his originally designated position. With fellow wideouts Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler on injured reserve, the Broncos looked to Hinton once again in a time of need, and Hinton took full advantage of his moment in the spotlight.
Hinton's score, which came in the fourth quarter, was part of a two-reception, 25-yard performance vs. the Steelers. But the timing of the touchdown made it impossible for Hinton to stop and savor the moment — with the Broncos down and the clock running out, it was straight back to business for the offense.
"I was so in tune with the game at that time, no time to celebrate," Hinton said after the game. "The guys showed me love on the sideline. We were just trying to get in that mode to go score again."
But following the game, Hinton said he made sure to take in the moment, and to locate the ball he used to score his first NFL TD.
"I get to sit back and go find my [TD] football, wherever it is," Hinton said.
Despite another tough loss for the Broncos, Hinton is confident the team can bounce back. And with his performance today, Hinton could look forward to an expanded role in the offense going forward.
"We've seen what we can do, we've seen what we're capable of, the power we've got on offense and defense — it's just about putting it all together now," Hinton said.