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Mile High Morning: Our first look at Steve Atwater's Pro Football Hall of Fame Ring of Excellence


The Lead

In July, legendary Broncos safety Steve Atwater was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, following an illustrious 10-year career in Denver that included two Super Bowl championships and eight Pro Bowl selections.

On Sunday, Atwater will receive another special honor, as the Pro Football Hall of Fame presents him with his Ring of Excellence.

Atwater will receive the ring ahead of Sunday's game vs. the Raiders at Empower Field at Mile High. Prior to the 2:25 p.m. MT kickoff, Atwater will take part in a pregame ceremony where Hall of Fame executive producer and chief operating officer George Veras will present him with his ring. Broncos fans attending the game vs. the Raiders are encouraged to arrive early and be in their seats by 2 p.m. to support Atwater during the presentation.

Sunday's events will be the culmination of the 2021 Broncos Alumni Weekend, which will begin on Friday at 6 p.m. MT at Empower Field at Mile High. The weekend will kick off with the unveiling of Mike Shanahan's pillar at the Ring of Fame Plaza at Empower Field, and will also include the opportunity to view Atwater's Hall of Fame bust, which will be displayed for the first time in Denver that evening.

The festivities will continue through the weekend, as Broncos alumni attend the team's practice at UCHealth Training Center on Saturday. On Sunday, Atwater will receive his HOF Ring of Excellence and address the crowd at Empower Field, before the Broncos unveil the Hall of Fame's logo next to his name on the stadium's Ring of Fame facade. 

Sunday will also include a halftime ceremony honoring Shanahan, as the two-time Super Bowl champion head coach officially becomes a member of the Broncos Ring of Fame. The Broncos will also unveil Shanahan's name on the Ring of Fame facade at Empower Field.

Broncos QB Peyton Manning, who was also inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year, will be honored in a special presentation during Denver's Week 8 matchup vs. Washington.

Broncos Country is encouraged to come early, be loud and support Denver's newest members of the Hall of Fame and Ring of Fame on Sunday.

Below the Fold

Wide receiver Kendall Hinton continues to earn praise after stepping up for the Broncos in the wake of injuries to fellow WRs KJ Hamler and Jerry Jeudy. 

 This week, Hinton hauled in his first career touchdown, as well as a crucial fourth-quarter sideline grab that helped give the Broncos a shot at a comeback. Hinton's continued growth earned him the honor of being named the Broncos' most improved player by ESPN.

 "Hinton just keeps moving up the developmental curve with hard work and simply being ready when the Broncos need him," ESPN's Jeff Legwold wrote. "His toe-tap reception along the sideline for a key third-down conversion in the fourth quarter of Sunday's loss in Pittsburgh, along with his first career touchdown earlier in the quarter, were two examples of how far he has come."

 Of course, Legwold is not alone in noticing Hinton's growth — the Broncos have seen steady improvements from the second-year WR, particularly through the last offseason.

 "He just keeps getting better," Head Coach Vic Fangio said. "You kept asking me who's playing good and who's looking good in OTAs and in training camp, and about every other day I mentioned him. He just keeps improving and he's become a good receiver."

 Hinton credits his evolution to hard work and acknowledgement of his weaknesses during the offseason.

 "This past offseason, I knew the points I had to get better at, I knew my weak spots and I just took the time off this offseason to really grind and pick those points up," Hinton said.

 Catching his first NFL TD on Sunday was a surreal moment for Hinton, who played QB for most of college and for one game in an emergency capacity for the Broncos last season. He is incredibly grateful for that opportunity, he said, but remains focused on the journey ahead.

"Through all the bumps in the road, I'm so appreciative for where I'm at now," Hinton said. "It's good to sit back and enjoy those moments, but also prepare myself for what's next."

The Unclassifieds

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