Broncos start wide receiver Kendall Hinton as quarterback after COVID crisis

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The Denver Broncos activated wide receiver Kendall Hinton on Sunday after all four quarterbacks were deemed ineligible for their game against the New Orleans Saints over COVID-19 concerns. 

The Broncos announced the “contagious disease practice squad elevation” just hours before kickoff after quarterback Drew Lock, backup Brett Rypien and practice squad veteran Blake Bortles were deemed high-risk close contacts with No. 3 quarterback Jeff Driskel, who tested positive on Thursday. 

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“Per the NFL's 2020 COVID-19 rules, teams are allowed to elevate players from their practice squad to replace a player who is currently on the reserve/COVID-19 list in addition to two standard practice squad elevations,” the team said on its website. 

Hinton joined the Broncos as a free agent in the offseason after playing at Wake Forest University, where he played both quarterback and wide receiver. 

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As the team’s signal caller, Hinton completed 133 of 253 for 1,504 yards with eight touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also rushed 1,059 yards and 12 touchdowns.

The Broncos are under investigation by the NFL for possibly violating the league’s safety protocols, ESPN reported. 

A person with direct knowledge of the situation told the Associated Press that the four quarterbacks weren’t wearing their masks the whole time they were together on Wednesday as required by the league’s pandemic protocols – just a day before Driskel tested positive.

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The league is coming down on violators. Multiple reports on Sunday said the NFL had fined the Saints $500,000 and docked them a 2021 seventh-round draft pick for breaking safety protocols. The New England Patriots were also fined $350,000.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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