Rob Calabrese hasn't played competitive football since his final season with the Central Florida Knights in 2012.
The Denver Broncos still hoped he could fill their void at quarterback on Sunday.
According to ESPN, Denver requested that Calabrese — in his second season as an offensive quality control coach on Vic Fangio's staff — be eligible to start behind center against the New Orleans Saints after every other quarterback on the roster was ruled out due to COVID-19 protocols.
The team felt Calabrese could command the offense better than any other player, but the league and commissioner denied the team's petition, per ESPN. Wide receiver Kendall Hinton, a former quarterback at Wake Forest, will give it his best shot instead.
The report said "the NFL doesn't want coaching staffs being storage areas for potential players" as the league navigates coronavirus infection surges across the league.
Denver Broncos linebacker Malik Reed (59) is greeted by teammates during player introductions before the start of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, in Denver. (Photo: Jack Dempsey, AP)
Broncos backup Jeff Driskel tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. Starter Drew Lock, along with reserves Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles, were deemed high-risk contacts and thus ineligible for Sunday. The Broncos also requested that the game be pushed to Tuesday in an effort for one of the quarterbacks to be available.
Signing a free agent quarterback to play Sunday would not be an option, as any player who joins the team would not clear the league's COVID-19 testing protocols in time to participate in the game.
Calabrese arrived at UCF in 2008 and started as a true freshmen before assuming a backup role for the next two seasons. An injury cost him the 2011 campaign and he returned in 2012 as a hybrid quarterback-receiver.
He spent one season coaching high school before returning to the Knights as a graduate assistant in 2014. Wagner hired him as offensive coordinator before the 2017 season an,d he spent two years in that role before the Broncos hired him.
Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.
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