By Danielle Chavira

DENVER (CBS4) – After a whirlwind of change on Saturday, the Denver Broncos are preparing to take on the New Orleans Saints with a wide receiver at quarterback. Kendall Hinton hasn’t been in the pocket since 2015.

He was chosen to fill the shoes of Drew Lock, Brett Rypien, Jeff Driskel and practice squad quarterback Blake Bortles. Driskel tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, and the rest of the squad were determined to be high risk through contact tracing.

The three quarterbacks reportedly were in close contact with Driskel without masks on, in violation of league rules.

That left the team with very few, if any, options. In the end, Hinton was chosen.

Hinton was a wide receiver at Wake Forest in 2019, but played at quarterback previously. He appeared in 22 games over four seasons.

Lock later released a statement saying the situation was “an honest mistake.” He said, “As a proud member of the Denver Broncos, I can attest that our entire team has taken the COVID-19 pandemic seriously, following all the rules to keep each other safe.”

The Broncos released a statement about the situation late Saturday:

“With NFL/NFLPA protocols mandating a five-day quarantine period for high-risk close contacts, we were informed by the league that Lock, Rypien and Bortles will be ineligible to participate in Sunday’s game against New Orleans… We will continue to work closely with the NFL whenever there is a positive COVID-19 case, including sharing all available information in a thorough and timely manner to ensure the safety of our team.”

Many questioned the NFL’s decision to keep the game as is.

“I can’t believe that the NFL is expecting the Broncos to compete with a practice squad receiver at quarterback! I understand the mask violations – but moving the game to Monday or Tuesday wouldn’t be that difficult … seems like they are trying to make an example out of Denver,” said CBS4 sports anchor Romi Bean.

Some members of the team, like Noah Fant and Jerry Jeudy, echoed the sentiment.

 

Another thing to consider, as Bean points out, is what happens should Hinton get hurt on Sunday? Is there anyone left to take his place?

Danielle Chavira