AUGUST 1: Hamler is expected to miss around a month, per Sean Payton. While that could open the door to a reunion before the season, the new Broncos HC indicated it will likely take a few weeks for the young wide receiver to ramp up after the time away. Hamler also spent the offseason rehabbing a torn pectoral muscle he sustained early this year.
JULY 31: On a day when one Broncos wideout appeared to suffer a second straight season-ending injury, more unfortunate news surfaced concerning another member of the unit. KJ Hamler provided an update on his latest ailment, one which will lead to at least a temporary departure from the team.
Denver will waive Hamler with a non-football illness designation, per Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (Twitter link). The move will not mark a permanent separation with the former second-rounder, but rather a procedural transaction which will open up a roster spot and keep the door open to a return at some point during the season. Placing Hamler on the reserve/NFI list would have ended his season.
The Penn State product revealed (via Garafolo, on Twitter) on Monday that he is dealing with pericarditis, a heart condition which will be treated with medication rather than surgery. The recovery timeline is not expected to sideline him for the season, with Garafolo noting Hamler should miss “weeks, not months.” That should allow him to return at some point in the 2023 campaign, one of vital importance for him.
Hamler has faced numerous injury troubles during his three-year Broncos tenure. The 24-year-old played 13 games as a rookie, but has managed to suit up for only 10 after that. His 14.8 yards per catch average point to his abilities as a deep threat, though his receiving totals (42 catches, 620 yards, three touchdowns) are a product of a very small sample size. Entering the final year of his rookie contract, a healthy and productive season would do wonders for Hamler’s future in Denver or elsewhere.
The Broncos have Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton at the top of their WR depth chart, one which will be thin in the absence of Hamler and veteran Tim Patrick. Second-round rookie Marvin Mims could find himself in a starting role right away, something the team likely accounted for knowing the history of availability issues for Patrick and Hamler.
“I will be back on the field — better and stronger than ever — as soon as possible this season,” the latter’s Instagram post on his situation reads in part. “I feel great physically and this is frustrating for me to deal with… This is not farewell. This is not a goodbye. This is a see you soon as I take a break for my health.”