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KJ Hamler opens up about mental health in return to Broncos practice

The 2021 season was brought to a premature end for former Penn State wide receiver KJ Hamler last fall. The Denver Broncos receiver suffered a torn ACL that required multiple surgeries in the offseason, but the Broncos removed Hamler from the team’s physically unable to perform list. That meant Hamler could officially return to the practice field for the Broncos, and so he did.

“He’s been grinding, and he’s been working so hard. It was just one of those things where it seemed like it was the right time,” Broncos head coach Nathanial Hackett said Monday. “We all agreed on that and brought him out so that he can do the individual and slowly work him back into practice. There is still a while until we get him into some team reps. [We’ll] also let him do some of those walkthroughs so that he can put the [dry erase] board away. We’re excited to have him out.”

Hamler also took some time to meet with the media upon his return to the practice field during Broncos training camp, giving him an opportunity to share some words of inspiration for those who are dealing with stressful situations of their own, because Hamler says he went through some tough emotional strain since his ACL injury.

“At one point I didn’t want to be here,” Hamler explained to the media at Broncos training camp on Monday. “I didn’t want to be in this world.”

Hamler had multiple surgeries since an early-season injury last season, and he and his family have since dealt with the passing of his grandmother.

“The love of my life passed, my grandmother, so that was the toughest thing,” Hamler said. “That was on my back for a while. I wish I never did it by myself.”

The stress took a toll on Hamler, who says his faith helped pull him through the tough times and emotional strain as he worked to get back on the football field.

Hamler took to Twitter to share those thoughts of appreciation after practice on Monday.

Hamler’s willingness to open up about his own mental health issues is great to see and will hopefully allow others the ability to open up about their own mental health concerns. As Hamler noted in his press conference comments, he feels he is more vulnerable than ever even after getting past some mental roadblocks. Here’s hoping he continues to thrive and have a successful season on the NFL field this fall.


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Story originally appeared on Nittany Lions Wire