30 Picks in 30 Days - Day #4 - 1983 First Round Pick - OL Chris Hinton

The 1983 Draft.  Just say the words and quarterbacks come to mind.  No less than six quarterbacks were drafted in the first round, including John Elway #1 overall.  Of course we all know the story of Elway, who warned the Baltimore Colts before the draft that he would play baseball if they selected him.  It wasn't a popular tactic then, any more than Eli Manning making his wishes known that he had no desire to play in San Diego.

Elway eventually ended up in Denver, as everyone on planet earth knows, but many Broncos fans know little of a major piece of the trade used to get #7 - OL Chris Hinton.  The Broncos drafted Hinton with the 4th overall pick then traded his rights as part of a package for Elway.  Most use Hinton as a punch line in the Elway trade but that does an incredible disservice to a player that went on to have a very good career, both for the Colts and Atlanta Falcons.

Hinton went to 7 Pro Bowls, six as a member of the Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts, and was the first player elected to the Colts Ring of Fame after their move to Indy.  He went to another Pro Bowl as a member of the Atlanta Falcons before finishing his career as a member of the Minnesota Vikings. All told, Hinton spent 13-years in the National Football League and started 172 games.  Not bad for a punchline.

Now, Hinton has taken the passion he had for football and turned it towards wine.  Hinton owns and operates a huge wine store in Georgia, a passion that started while he was still in the NFL.  Hinton spends 55-hour weeks patrolling the floor and dispensing advice on what goes well with what. He leads well-attended tastings in his adjoining bar, Bin 75, named for his number in the NFL. He has even made a few trips to France for research. "Being able to tell a wine's story -- that's romantic," Hinton explains. Further proof of his commitment lies in the new $40,000 toy in his bar: a 24-bottle Enomatic dispenser that can auto-pour a glass of wine with the swipe of a credit card. "It's the only one in Georgia," he says, beaming.

Yes, Chris Hinton will always be known as "the guy traded for John Elway".  But Hinton was also one helluva football player and not the punchline many believe him to be.

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