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KJ Hamler Opens Up About Emotional ACL Rehab Ahead Of Return

Former Penn State football star KJ Hamler met with the media at Broncos training camp on Monday and discussed his journey back from his ACL tear last season.

While the wideout isn’t sure about his status for the preseason, he appears confident he’ll be ready for Denver’s season opener against Seattle on September 12, as he gave a chuckle and confident nod when asked about his availability for week one.

However, to get to this point, Hamler explained that he dealt with a tremendous amount of adversity. In addition to his ACL rehab, Hamler lost the “love of his life” when his grandmother passed away.

“The devil was on my back for a while,” Hamler said. “I wish I would’ve never did it by myself. I wish I would’ve asked for help… At one point I ain’t want to be here. I ain’t want to be in this world. There was just one point where I didn’t want to be on earth anymore.”

“God gave me the strength to get out of this hole,” he continued. “He knew I was strong enough to get through it. I didn’t feel like I was at the time… I’m proud of myself, and I know my grandmother is proud.”

Hamler continued, saying that he tells his teammates every day that he loves them because you never know when your last day is, which is something he’s come to appreciate more with age. He said he’s “blessed” to be in the position he’s in.

“Football brought me back to life, and I’m grateful,” Hamler said.

The Broncos selected Hamler in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft with the No. 46 overall pick. The speedy wideout has totaled 35 catches for 455 yards and three touchdowns just 16 games into his NFL career.

Now back and healthy, Hamler could be set up for a breakout season with star quarterback Russell Wilson now under center for the Broncos. Hamler, along with Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, and Tim Patrick, among others, will catch passes from the nine-time Pro Bowler this season.

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About the Author

Gabe Angieri

Gabe is a senior majoring in journalism and is Onward State's managing editor. He grew up in Lindenhurst, New York, and has had the absolute misfortune of rooting for the Jets, Mets, and Knicks. If you want to see his bad sports takes, follow him on Twitter @gabeangieri and direct all hate mail and death threats to [email protected]

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