“Man, that was my rock, really,” Hamler said. “Nobody else really took care of me more than her, besides my actual mother. I used to take her to get her hair done, get her food every time I come home. And she was going through struggles. She had Parkinson’s disease and things of that nature. It was days I didn’t want to show up to therapy, and I always thought about her. She’s doing therapy, so I’ve got to go do it. I know she wouldn’t give up, so I ain’t gonna give up.”
In the early months of the recovery, Hamler was in “a dark spot” in his life, he said, but what will finally get him out of there is simple.
“Just playing ball again,” Hamler said. “I feel like when you take something that you love away, you kind of figure out, like, ‘What am I gonna do?'”
Since being able to return to football activities, Hamler has focused on figuring out what he’s going to do on the field with the Broncos’ new quarterback, Russell Wilson.
To best identify his potential given Wilson’s arm strength and accuracy, Hamler has spoken with Seahawks receiver Tyler Lockett. Like Hamler, Lockett is a speedy receiver and was able to capitalize on those skills; over the past four years, Lockett has caught 36 touchdowns.
“Just being in his ear, always asking him questions,” Hamler said of the advice he received from Lockett. “Just basically being a sponge and absorbing stuff, because Russ wants stuff very specific. ‘I want it at this spot at this time, this area.’ So just picking his brain. I kind of see myself playing that Tyler Lockett role this year, so just trying to be a sponge and just listen to him.”
While Hamler is not yet 100 percent — he said he plans on being back in time for training camp — he said he’s “progressing every day” and “well ahead of schedule.”
It may have surprised people, but perhaps they should have expected his recovery to have gone this quickly. After all, speed is what Hamler knows best, and once he’s fully back, that’s what he expects from himself.
“My speed ain’t going nowhere,” Hamler said. “I should be faster.”