Although his stat-line and the end result were nothing to write home about, Kendall Hinton's effort last week in an impossible situation showed the heart of a true Denver Bronco.
The undrafted rookie wideout from Wake Forest was tapped on Saturday night to start at quarterback for the Broncos in the team's Week 12 home bout vs. the New Orleans Saints after the team's true signal-callers were eliminated from eligibility by the NFL. Hinton had less than 24 hours to prepare and as far as practice reps at quarterback? About four hours.
Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur scrambled to pair down about 30 plays for Hinton to operate while QBs Coach Mike Shula took the rookie under his wing in an unprecedented NFL cram session.
The results were predictable. Hinton completed just one pass on nine attempts and tossed two interceptions. The Broncos lost 31-3.
After the game, though, Hinton received an outpouring of praise and respect from his teammates, opponents, and peers across the NFL, as well as fans and media alike. Due to the rarity of the situation Hinton and the Broncos found themselves in, thanks to the NFL's punitive decision to strong-arm the team into playing without a true QB, the Pro Football Hall of Fame has made a move to commemorate the event.
Denver7's Troy Renck broke the news.
"So this is cool. The Pro Football Hall of Fame has reached out to #Broncos about getting some items from last Sunday’s game. Nothing official yet, but could include something of Kendall Hinton’s. Game was not memorable. But Hinton stepping into to play QB certainly was," Renck tweeted on Friday.
It sounds like Hinton's wrist band will be displayed for posterity in Canton. Ending up in the Hall of Fame certainly was a goal of his, though making it to those hallowed halls in this way likely wasn't how the kid dreamed it up.
“I would not say this is how I planned it out in my dreams, but it usually doesn't work out how you want it," Hinton said of his Week 12 opportunity. "So, just getting this opportunity and this experience has been amazing... But, it's an experience like none, so."
Nevertheless, no matter how the balance of Hinton's NFL career shakes out, a piece of him and his impact in the league will live on in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. How cool is that?
Meanwhile, the Broncos will take on the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday Night Football. Denver will get the chance to cleans its palate after last week's public shaming by the NFL and maybe, just maybe, snap Kansas City's 10-game winning streak over the club.