2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Broncos G Kuper ready for 1st playoff appearance

    2013-01-08 18:46

(Eds: Adds quotes, details. With AP Photos.)
By ARNIE STAPLETON
AP Pro Football Writer

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) - Peyton Manning's pocket of protection is about to get an upgrade.

A finally healthy Chris Kuper is expected to return at right guard Saturday when the top-seeded Denver Broncos (13-3) host the Baltimore Ravens (11-6) in an AFC divisional playoff.

``It would be great,'' coach John Fox said after Tuesday's practice, the exact four words Peyton Manning would use 10 minutes later. ``He was voted on as a team captain by his teammates. He's a guy who's been in and out of the lineup all year. He's worked very hard to get back. It was good to see him out there today, and he had a fine day.''

Left tackle Ryan Clady also returned to practice, after missing all of last week's workouts with an undisclosed injury. Although he's dealt with a troublesome hamstring of late, Clady has never missed a game in his five-year NFL career.

Kuper, on the other hand, spent more time on the sideline than on the football field this season, and his absence was sorely felt, particularly - and, quite literally - by Manning.

Coming off four neck surgeries, Manning was sacked 21 times this season - but only twice with Kuper in the lineup.

Although Manny Ramirez admirably filled in, the O-line wasn't the same without Kuper.

The anchor of Denver's offensive line and a seventh-year pro out of North Dakota, Kuper made just five starts at right guard this season and played a half dozen snaps on special teams in two other games, including the season finale against Kansas City.

He missed the first four games after breaking his left forearm in training camp Aug. 14 and he missed five other games with a sprained left ankle, the same one he dislocated and broke in a gruesome scene a year ago.

For overcoming all these tribulations, his teammates Tuesday voted him their 2012 Ed Block Courage Award winner.

``Obviously, you don't want to be in that situation because that means you had to fight through some injuries or adversity, but to be recognized as a guy who will do that, I think that's just part of being a professional,'' Kuper said.

Manning lauded Kuper for his perseverance.

``What Kupe's been through from an injury standpoint, certainly physically, it's taken its toll,'' Manning said. ``That's a real challenge mentally, and I can just tell you that from my experience last year. He's had a positive attitude; he's worked hard; he and I have spent a lot of time in the training room together, so to see him back out there ... it's kind of like seeing Willis: it's a great lift to the team and it'd be great to have him in there on Saturday.''

Running back Willis McGahee returned to practice Tuesday for the first time since tearing a ligament in his right knee in mid-November and missing the last six games of the regular season. He's eligible to return to the active roster if the Broncos reach the AFC championship.

Kuper is gearing up for his first playoff game. He missed the Broncos' run last season after getting hurt in the season finale.

``I remember watching that game on TV last year and what he's done to come back from it is pretty spectacular,'' wide receiver Brandon Stokley said. ``So, it's well-deserved.''

And all the adversity this year, ``he's fought through it,'' Stokley said. ``He's a team guy and he's one of those guys that when he's on the field everybody looks to and kind of rallies around.''

Kuper was named a second alternate to the Pro Bowl after playing in just seven games this season, a measure of how much he's respected across the league.

``To get him back at a much-needed time is a blessing,'' Broncos pass-rusher Elvis Dumervil said. ``Glad he's able to go out and showcase what he can do.''

Kuper said the bye week did wonders for him, allowing him to knock off some rust.

``It helped me tons,'' he said. ``It's been a trying year for me, so getting that extra week to kind of work back into the offense, it helped me a lot. It felt good. I'm doing my best out there to get ready to go.''

Now, he's about to get his first taste of the playoffs.

``This is what I've been playing for since I got here,'' Kuper said.

Notes: McGahee didn't make himself available for comment Tuesday but RB Lance Ball said, ``I don't know when he'll be back or if he'll be back or not, but it was just good to go out there and see him out there practicing.''

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

---

Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Charles JohnsonAug 31 08:12p

The Cleveland Browns have placed WR Charles X. Johnson, OT Martin Wallace and OG Karim Barton on no-recall waivers.

Daryl RichardsonAug 31 07:22p

The New York Jets signed free-agents DT Tevita Finau, DL Kerry Hyder, SS Rontez Miles, TE Chris Pantale, OT Brent Qvale, RB Daryl Richardson and QB Matt Simms to [ More ]

Alex SmithAug 31 07:02p

Kansas City Chiefs QB Alex Smith has agreed to a four-year contract extension worth $68 million with $45 million guaranteed.

Mike KafkaAug 31 05:02p

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have added TE Cameron Brate, RB Jeff Demps, QB Mike Kafka, LB Brandon Magee, DT Matthew Masifilo and WR Solomon Patton to their practice squad.

Michael CoxAug 31 04:42p

The New York Giants have signed RB Michael Cox, CB Bennett Jackson, CB Chandler Fenner, LB Dan Fox, DE Jordan Stanton, WR Julian Talley and OT Nick Becton to their practice squad.

Rex GrossmanAug 31 04:23p

The Cleveland Browns have released QB Rex Grossman, according to a source.

Michael EgnewAug 31 04:12p

The Detroit Lions have signed TE Michael Egnew and RB George Winn to their practice squad.

Benson MayowaAug 31 04:12p

The Oakland Raiders have claimed DE Benson Mayowa off waivers from the Seattle Seahawks.

Ryan JensenAug 31 03:42p

The Baltimore Ravens will sign QB Keith Wenning, CB Tramain Jacobs, TE Phillip Supernaw, LB John Simon, RB Fitzgerald Toussaint, DT AJ Pataialii and OG Ryan Jensen to their [ More ]

A.Q. ShipleyAug 31 03:32p

The Indianapolis Colts have claimed OG A.Q. Shipley off waivers from the Baltimore Ravens.

Jeff TuelAug 31 03:22p

The Buffalo Bills have signed S Deon Broomfield, DE Bryan Johnson, S Kenny Ladler, QB Jeff Tuel, LB Jimmy Gaines, WR Caleb Holley and DL Ikponmwosa Igbinosun to their practice squad.

Kapri BibbsAug 31 03:12p

The Denver Broncos have signed LB Shaquil Barrett, RB Kapri Bibbs, FS John Boyett, QB Zac Dysert, WR Bennie Fowler, OT Vinston Painter, WR Nathan Palmer, C Matt Paradis [ More ]

Lawrence OkoyeAug 31 03:02p

The San Francisco 49ers have added DL Lawrence Okoye and LB Shayne Skov to their practice squad.

Travian RobertsonAug 31 03:02p

The Atlanta Falcons have signed CB Ricardo Allen, FS Sean Baker, OG Harland Gunn, OL Terren Jones, WR Bernard Reedy, DL Travian Robertson, LB Jacques Smith and RB Jerome Smith to the practice squad.

Myles WhiteAug 31 02:52p

The Green Bay Packers have signed S Chris Banjo, WR Myles White, CB Jumal Rolle, TE Justin Perillo and OL Jeremy Vujnovich to their practice squad.

Tim DobbinsAug 31 02:43p

The Atlanta Falcons have claimed LB Nathan Stupar off waivers from the Jacksonivlle Jaguars and placed him on their 53-man roster, according to a league source. In a corresponding [ More ]

Ryan MallettAug 31 02:12p

The Houston Texans have acquired QB Ryan Mallett from the New England Patriots, in exchange for a sixth-round pick, according to multiple sources.

Ryan SeymourAug 31 01:02p

The Cleveland Browns claimed free-agent OG Ryan Seymour (49ers) off waivers Sunday, Aug. 31.

Michael SamAug 31 12:12p

Free-agent DE Michael Sam (Rams) reportedly cleared waivers and is free to sign with any team.

Josh KadduAug 31 03:22a

To get its roster down to 53 players on Saturday, Aug. 30, the Philadelphia Eagles released OT Kevin Graf, FS Keelan Johnson, LB Josh Kaddu, DT Wade Keliikipi and WR Will Murphy.

Wes WelkerAug 31 12:12a

Denver Broncos WR Wes Welker (concussion) will increase his activity level when the team returns to practice Monday, Sept. 1.

Khaled HolmesAug 30 11:52p

Indianapolis Colts C Khaled Holmes (ankle) is one of five offensive linemen on the team that is currently dealing with an injury, and Mike Wells of ESPN.com believes the [ More ]

Alfonso SmithAug 30 10:42p

San Francisco 49ers RB Alfonso Smith was released Saturday, Aug. 30.

Tyler BrayAug 30 09:52p

Kansas City Chiefs QB Tyler Bray (undisclosed) and WR Kyle Williams (shoulder) were placed on the Reserve/Injured list Saturday, Aug. 30.

Jamarca SanfordAug 30 09:52p

Minnesota Vikings OT Antonio Richardson (undisclosed) and S Jamarca Sanford (undisclosed) were placed on the Reserve/Injured list Saturday, Aug. 30.

A.J. McCarronAug 30 09:42p

Cincinnati Bengals QB A.J. McCarron (shoulder) was placed on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury list Saturday, Aug. 30.

Jamar ChaneyAug 30 09:32p

Denver Broncos LB Jamar Chaney (undisclosed) was released from Denver's Reserve/Injured list with an injury settlement Saturday, Aug. 30.

Vincent BrownAug 30 09:22p

San Diego Chargers WR Vincent Brown (calf) was placed on no-recall waivers with a waived/injured designation Saturday, Aug. 30.

Steve BeauharnaisAug 30 09:02p

New England Patriots LB Steve Beauharnais (undisclosed) was placed on no-recall waivers after reaching an injury settlement Saturday, Aug. 30.

Andrew TillerAug 30 08:52p

Green Bay Packers OG Andrew Tiller (calf) and LB Joseph Thomas (knee) were placed on no-recall waivers after being released from Green Bay's Reserve/Injured list with injury settlements Saturday, Aug. 30.

Rajion NealAug 30 08:42p

Green Bay Packers RB Rajion Neal (knee) was placed on no-recall waivers after being released from Green Bay's Reserve/Injured list with an injury settlement Saturday, Aug. 30.

Shaun ChapasAug 30 07:52p

Baltimore Ravens RB Shaun Chapas (undisclosed) was waived from the Reserve/Injured list with an injury settlement.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group