Thursday afternoon, Broncos Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett confirmed what many were wondering after his comments throughout the week. KJ Hamler will play in the team’s final preseason game.
Broncos wide receiver KJ Hamler had a devastating end to the 2021 season in Week Three against the Jets when he landed awkwardly, which resulted in a torn ACL and a hip injury. Hamler would go on to need surgery. Not only was it obviously tough for Hamler, but it also clearly had an effect on the team that needed all the offensive help it could get last year.
Hamler shed some light on his recovery a few weeks ago when he opened up on his recovery and mental health struggles when meeting with the media after a training camp practice for the Broncos.
“At one point … the devil was on my back for a while. I wish I would have never done it by myself, I wish I would have asked for help. … At one point I didn’t want to be here, I didn’t want to be in this world. There was one point I didn’t want to be on this earth no more.” Broncos Wide Receiver KJ Hamler
It opened many eyes for those who had no way of knowing that Hamler had been struggling this badly mentally. People forget that players are people too. Many think of the impact it will have on the team immediately. Hamler’s situation should remind all that these types of things that occur can affect someone personally in a life-changing way.
Whenever the Broncos have seen Hamler on the field during this preseason, he has been in a knee brace. That will be the case for the rest of the season, that is the case for most players with the type of injury that he had.
The Return For Broncos Hamler Should Be A Welcome Sight
Coming out of Penn State, Hamler had tons of attention pre-draft due to the type of speed he could add to an offense. Former Broncos General Manager, John Elway, saw that and felt he was explosive enough to garner a second-round selection. While the Broncos haven’t seen great production from Hamler or his draft mate Jerry Jeudy, they both have enough talent that it could be a breakout year for both with Russell Wilson captaining the Broncos’ offense.
The first time we will see him has been revealed. Hamler will reportedly play some snaps in the team’s final preseason game. It won’t be with Wilson, however, as Brett Rypien will be throwing the ball Saturday night in the final preseason game before the regular season.
“Being in full pads, watching him run, you definitely feel some of that speed that he has.” Coach Hackett confirmed @Kj_hamler will get some snaps in #MINvsDEN: pic.twitter.com/Xc9GWYnnik — Denver Broncos (@Broncos) August 25, 2022
Broncos Country shouldn’t be looking for production but should be watching for overall route running from Hamler on Saturday. It will be tough for him to be 100% used to the knee brace, but that unfortunately will be the reality all season for him. This is a good move from Hackett to get Hamler some feeling of how it is to be playing live football again. My guess is that he will play anywhere between five through ten snaps against the Vikings.