Drew Lock has apologized after he and four other Broncos quarterbacks were placed on the team's reserve/COVID-19 list ahead of Sunday's game against the Saints. With few options available, Kendall Hinton, an undrafted rookie receiver who was previously a member of the Broncos' practice squad, could make the start. The Broncos may instead make the decision to start emergency QB Royce Freeman (usually a reserve RB) at QB.
Lock confirmed previous reports that he did not wear a mask inside the Broncos' facility during the week. Per reports, Lock and fellow quarterbacks Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles did not wear masks and were labeled as high-risk close contacts with quarterback Jeff Driskel, who tested positive for the virus on Thursday.
"In a controlled and socially distanced area, we let our masking slip for a limited amount of time," Lock said via Twitter. "An honest mistake, but one I will own. I sincerely apologize and I fully understand why these safety precautions are so important. Doing the right thing for a majority of the time is not good enough."
The Broncos were reportedly denied their request to NFL to postpone the game until Tuesday in order to activate some of their quarterbacks in time to face the Saints, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Denver may also be subject to disciplinary actions if the league deems that COVID-19 protocols were not followed.
The Broncos would be considered repeat offenders after coach Vic Fangio was fined $100,000 for not wearing his mask earlier this season. The Raiders, the league's first repeat offender, was fined $500,000 and a sixth-round pick after the league fined them for violations involving offensive lineman Trent Brown's positive test back in late October.
With no other viable options, the Broncos will start Hinton, who completed 53% of his passes during his time at quarterback for Wake Forest. Hinton also rushed for 1,059 yards and 12 touchdowns for the Demon Deacons. Denver reportedly tried to activate quality control coach Rob Calabrese before that request was denied by the NFL.
"I pray for my teammates' healthy, safety and success today," Lock said in his statement. "I look forward to getting back on the field next week. Go Broncos."