Vikings Broncos Football

Denver Broncos wide receiver KJ Hamler (1) looks on against the Minnesota Vikings during an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

ENGLEWOOD — KJ Hamler wasn’t himself in Seattle.

The Broncos wide receiver hoped to have a triumphant return to football against the Seahawks, after his ACL and hip injuries that sidelined him all of last season. Instead, Hamler had only one target in 40 snaps played. He didn’t look like himself.

That’s because he wasn’t, which is why he didn't play last Sunday against the Texans. 

"I was battling through some things versus Seattle," Hamler said Thursday. "Still getting the job done, but I knew I wasn't me all the way. I was dealing with little aches and pains and my groin and stuff like that. Everything at that time was overcompensating for my hip and all that little stuff. But just me being me, I always want to play. That was probably the hardest part — just sit back and watch." 

Hamler has not only been overcoming the ACL and hip injuries, which he said feel fine, he has been struggling with a groin injury that has been an issue since training camp. Coach Nathaniel Hackett said Hamler missed the Texans game due to "maintenance" — stating they wanted to make sure he didn't miss time later in the season. The Broncos, and Hamler, want to make sure he's 100 percent before returning to action.  

That’s why he missed a good chunk of training camp practices, why he was limited in the Seahawks game and why he didn’t play last week. 

"I've had a slight groin (injury), a little tweak that I've been dealing with since camp," Hamler said. "I just wanted that to heal up. I'd rather miss one game right now than five games or four games. I think it was smart. I appreciate (Hackett). I was upset because I wasn't playing. I don't like missing games. But I have to do what's right.

"My hip and knee, overall, have been real good. I've been feeling excellent." 

Now that Hamler is past the groin injury and with his ACL and hip feeling normal again, he hopes to finally be a contributor again for the Broncos. And it couldn’t come at a better time, with receiver Jerry Jeudy possibly missing Sunday’s game against the 49ers with a ribs injury. The hope is not only for Hamler to play again this Sunday, but to also give Denver's offense a much-needed spark. 

"Big plays. Explosiveness," Hamler said. "I can stretch the defense, even with the knee brace. Just being that speed demon that they need to open stuff up. But also I can make plays. As long as I do my 1/11th, do my job, do what I'm supposed to — then everything will be cool." 

Sign Up for Pikes Peak 5

Game analysis and insights from The Gazette sports staff including columns by Woody Paige and Paul Klee.

Success! Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter.

Load comments