KJ Hamler has easily been one of the most inspirational stories on the Denver Broncos this season, especially since his August press conference, during which he detailed how he had managed his mental health struggles over the past year.

Hamler has always been a valuable presence in the Broncos’ locker room, and since coming back from his 2021 ACL tear and the mental demons associated with it, that role has only amplified. As a result, he was honored with the Denver Broncos’ 2022 Ed Block Courage Award, an award that every team in the NFL awards to one of its players that has demonstrated courage, an ability to inspire, and exemplary sportsmanship.

“It’s a blessing—a blessing in disguise,” KJ Hamler said of the award. “I’ve been through a lot, still going through things. Everybody goes through things. It’s just a matter of how you push through it and how you get through it. I have a great support system, great friends, great teammates who have helped me through a lot. It’s a blessing at the end of the day. There were people telling me I probably wasn’t even going to be able to play football again or this season. So just to prove a lot of people wrong and to get back out there and play with the team—I know the year hasn’t been what everybody expected. My personal goals haven’t been what I wanted it to be. But just being out there and just getting a feel for it again is amazing, and I’m proud of myself.”

KJ Hamler also shared what led to him being so vulnerable with the public back in August.

“At the end of the day, we are human,” Hamler shared, on Monday. “I think a lot of people don’t realize that when we have that helmet on. I was just sick and tired of it, and I just want to let everybody know that at the end of the day we’re all human. We all make mistakes; we all go through things. A lot of people still need to realize that. We’re not just football players. We actually deal with real-life things outside of here, and we have to come in here and put on a fake smile and act like things are OK all the time, but they are not. So there has been times where I have been in a dark place still, and I come here and I go to work. I still put on a smile on my face, make sure my boys are good. You just have to get put your head down and work. It’s a mentality, and it’s just the type of courage you have to have.”

They type of courage is what has made Hamler such a valued and beloved member of the Denver Broncos organization, ever since he was drafted.