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

Johnny ManzielAug 21 08:22a

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel will not have a package of plays created for him to run off the bench, according to head coach Mike Pettine. Manziel has been [ More ]

Geno SmithAug 21 02:23a

New York Jets QB Geno Smith will start Week 1 versus the Oakland Raiders, barring an injury. The coaching staff has yet to officially name Smith the starter.

Geno AtkinsAug 21 12:53a

Cincinnati Bengals DE Geno Atkins (knee) will be ready for the regular season opener against the Baltimore Ravens Sept. 7, head coach Marvin Lewis said Wednesday, Aug. 20. In [ More ]

Walt AikensAug 21 12:53a

Miami Dolphins CB Walt Aikens (hand) is sidelined indefinitely due to a left hand injury suffered a practice earlier this week. No timetable has been established for his return.

Tyler WilsonAug 21 12:53a

Cincinnati Bengals CB Darqueze Dennard (hip), DT David King (undisclosed), CB Lavelle Westbrooks (undisclosed) and QB Tyler Wilson (head) were unable to practice Wednesday, Aug. 20.

Andre SmithAug 21 12:53a

Cincinnati Bengals OT Andre Smith (concussion) said Wednesday, Aug. 20, that he expects to get cleared to play in the preseason game Sunday, Aug. 24, against the Arizona Cardinals. [ More ]

Jalil BrownAug 21 12:53a

Miami Dolphins CB Jalil Brown, CB Don Jones, FS Jordan Kovacs and FS Michael Thomas appear to be fighting for two roster spots. Thomas has reportedly had a good [ More ]

Knowshon MorenoAug 21 12:53a

Miami Dolphins RB Knowshon Moreno (knee) said Wednesday, Aug. 20, that he feels good. The team wants to see him practice Thursday, Aug. 21, before deciding if he will [ More ]

Andre JohnsonAug 20 10:43p

Houston Texans WR Andre Johnson has showed no signs of rust from his time away from the team this offseason. Johnson had an impressive practice during joint workouts with [ More ]

Trent RichardsonAug 20 10:33p

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson is off to a slow start in training camp and the preseason, posting just 34 yards in 14 attempts. At 2.4 yards per carry, [ More ]

Emmanuel SandersAug 20 10:33p

Denver Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders (quadriceps) was involved in practice Wednesday, Aug. 20, but he is not working in 'live' setting yet. Head coach John Fox would not rule [ More ]

Montee BallAug 20 10:33p

Denver Broncos RB Montee Ball (appendix) continues to do more work in practice each day, but most of his work continues to be outside of the team structure. However, [ More ]

LeGarrette BlountAug 20 07:53p

Pittsburgh Steelers RB LeGarrette Blount and RB Le'Veon Bell were charged by Ross Township Police Wednesday, Aug. 20, with marijuana possession.

Le'Veon BellAug 20 07:43p

Pittsburgh Pirates RB Le'Veon Bell and RB LeGarrette Blount were charged by Ross Township Police Wednesday, Aug. 20, with marijuana possession. Bell was also charged with driving under the [ More ]

Ryan McBeanAug 20 05:53p

The Arizona Cardinals signed DT Ryan McBean (Ravens) Wednesday, Aug. 20. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Colt LyerlaAug 20 05:43p

The Green Bay Packers placed TE Colt Lyerla (knee) on the Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, Aug. 20.

Pat DevlinAug 20 05:33p

Free-agent WR Kevin Elliott (Bills), LS Chad Rempel (Bears), QB Pat Devlin (Dolphins) and DT Jibreel Black (Buccaneers) all cleared waivers Wednesday, Aug. 20.

Vontaze BurfictAug 20 05:33p

Cincinnati Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict agreed to a multi-year contract extension Wednesday, Aug. 20. Terms of the new deal were not disclosed.

Isaac SopoagaAug 20 05:13p

The Arizona Cardinals signed DT Isaac Sopoaga (Patriots) Wednesday, Aug. 20, per a league source. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Jordan NorwoodAug 20 04:53p

Denver Broncos WR Jordan Norwood (knee) suffered a torn acute cruciate ligament in practice Wednesday, Aug. 20.

Isaiah PeadAug 20 04:33p

The St. Louis Rams waived RB Isaiah Pead (knee) with a waived/injured designation Wednesday, Aug. 20. Pead will revert back to the roster if he clears waivers.

Phillip TannerAug 20 03:43p

The Indianapolis Colts waived RB Phillip Tanner Wednesday, Aug. 20.

Dexter McDougleAug 20 03:43p

The New York Jets placed CB Dexter McDougle (knee) on the Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, Aug. 20.

David FluellenAug 20 03:23p

The Indianapolis Colts acquired RB David Fluellen (Eagles) in exchange for PK Cody Parkey Wednesday, Aug. 20.

Desmond BryantAug 20 02:53p

Cleveland Browns DE Desmond Bryant (wrist) recently underwent wrist surgery. Head coach Mike Pettine said he is not sure if Bryant will be available to play Week 1.

S. SylvesterAug 20 02:43p

The Buffalo Bills have placed LB Stevenson Sylvester (undisclosed) on the Reserve/Injured list.

Michael CrabtreeAug 20 02:33p

San Francisco 49ers WR Michael Crabtree said he did not feel like himself when he returned from offseason Achilles' tendon surgery last season. 'I was fast enough to be [ More ]

Fendi OnobunAug 20 02:23p

The Jacksonville Jaguars have waived/injured TE Fendi Onobun (knee).

Eric KettaniAug 20 02:23p

The Jacksonville Jaguars have signed free-agent FB Eric Kettani (Chiefs). Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Sebastian VollmerAug 20 01:13p

New England Patriots OT Sebastian Vollmer (undisclosed) was not on the field during practice Wednesday, Aug. 20. Vollmer has missed the last three practices because of an undisclosed reason.

Peyton HillisAug 20 01:03p

New York Giants CB Prince Amukamara (groin), WR Trindon Holliday (hamstring), RB Peyton Hillis (ankle, foot), OT Charles Brown (shoulder) and OT James Brewer (back) are not participating in practice Wednesday, Aug. 20.

Cody WallaceAug 20 12:53p

Pittsburgh Steelers CB Shaquille Richardson (knee), LB Jordan Zumwalt (hamstring), TE Eric Waters (concussion), C Cody Wallace (finger) and LS Greg Warren (knee) will not play in the third preseason game.

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