Kendall Hinton evolving from emergency QB to NFL wideout
Kendall Hinton will likely forever be associated as the former college quarterback-turned-wideout who served as the emergency signal caller for the Denver Broncos in a Week 12 loss to the New Orleans Saints last season.
In fact, for his efforts, Hinton has already landed in the Pro Football Hall of Fame — or at least his wristband that he used in the historic game has.
But Hinton has quickly started turning heads for the position he’s been charged with playing in the NFL: wide receiver.
“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,” head coach Vic Fangio said on Wednesday. “He just keeps improving.
“He’s become a good receiver. With the injuries to Jerry (Jeudy) and K.J. (Hamler), he’s gotten an opportunity to play more.”
Indeed, Hinton has made the most of his opportunities to play this season, catching four passes on seven targets this season, including his first touchdown reception last weekend against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“Kendall — he’s a guy that’s just quiet, man. He doesn’t say much. He just comes to work every day and does everything that we ask of him,” said quarterback Teddy Bridgewater on Wednesday. “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.”
“To some degree” Fangio said he’s been surprised by Hinton’s progress, but not since the start of OTAs this past offseason.
“I kept seeing steady progress. The light came on. He wasn’t a receiver in college,” Fangio said. “He’s gotten the benefit of being on the practice squad for a couple years.
“Learning takes guys time. Now, he can actually call himself an NFL wide receiver, and not somebody that was an ex-quarterback or ex-something trying to play receiver. He is a receiver.”
Hinton had a similar epiphany this offseason, that he does “belong here in the NFL as a receiver,” something that he reflects upon daily.
“Every day, I wake up, and it’s crazy — I’m playing in the NFL. It’s such a blessing, such an honor,” Hinton said. “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.”