The Broncos had one of the most memorable COVID-related issues during the 2020 NFL season when backup quarterback Jeff Driskel tested positive for the virus. Denver’s other three callers – Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles – all ended up being close contacts with Driskel after spending time together without wearing masks.
At the time, Lock called the situation an “honest mistake.” However, that may not have been the case after all.
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The Broncos quarterbacks have apparently tried to bypass the league’s COVID protocols, reports Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times. That’s why the league ultimately refused to let the Broncos postpone the game.
John Elway, president of Denver football operations, made several frustrated calls to Goodell to postpone Sunday’s game until Tuesday, when quarterbacks would be available. The league rejected the demands because surveillance footage from the Denver facilities showed the quarterbacks attempted to cheat the system. They had removed their contact tracing devices and placed them in all four corners of the meeting room, then sat down together to watch a movie. This close contact automatically made them ineligible to play.
Needless to say, this is not a good look for these players. It also explains why the league decided to make it an example despite the postponement of several other games due to COVID-related issues.
The Broncos were forced to start practice team wide receiver Kendall Hinton due to their quarterback’s indiscretion. Hinton had been a college quarterback, so he was Denver’s best option for the job.
His performance was pretty much what you would expect from an emergency quarterback. He completed just 1 of 9 passes for 13 yards and two interceptions. The Broncos lost 31-3 to the Saints.
Hinton’s game will serve as a league warning this year. The NFL has stated in its COVID-related operating procedures for 2021 that “games will not be postponed or rescheduled simply to avoid roster issues caused by injury or illness affecting multiple players, even within a squad of posts “.