Fullback Jacob Hester has been with the Broncos since Nov. 26, when Denver signed the former Charger to help fill a void in the backfield left by an injury to running back Willis McGahee.
But he didn’t suit up for his first game as a Bronco until Sunday’s win over the Ravens. Hester said he was happy to be back in the mix for his long-anticipated first taste of live action in 2012.
“I felt really good,” Hester said. “I was inactive the first couple of games so I could try to learn and do that kind of stuff. But yesterday I felt comfortable out there. It felt good to get hit a little bit and get your first hits in. I’m glad to be here and glad to be a part of this team.”
Hester played a substantial role in his debut in the Broncos backfield, carrying the football seven times for 20 yards. On just his second handoff as a Bronco, Hester slammed through the Ravens’ goal-line defense for a 1-yard touchdown run that gave his team a 10-0 lead. Hester’s score came just a play after a touchdown reception by wide receiver Eric Decker was overruled by the officiating crew, opening the door for Hester’s touchdown.
“You have those plays up, and you never know if you’re going to get the chance to run them,” Hester said. “I hate that ‘Deck’ (wide receiver Eric Decker) didn’t get in on that one, I thought he did. We got a chance to get down there again on the 1-yard line and get a chance to punch it in. The guys up front did a great job and it felt good to get in there and be a part of it.”
After four years playing for San Diego, an AFC West rival of the Broncos, Hester’s initial doubts about how he might be accepted were quickly put to rest, making his transition to a new city and a new team a smooth one.
“Coming in here, being on a rival team for four years, I didn’t know how it would work out, but these guys welcomed me with open arms,” Hester said. “It’s been a good atmosphere in here and made me feel a part from day one, which was important.”
With his first game in a Denver uniform behind him, Hester will now turn his attention toward making continued progress as he settles into his new offense.
“There are obviously plays that you want to do better on, that you want to improve on,” Hester said. “But I think it was a good first step toward where I want to be. Not there yet, but hopefully I get there quick.”
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