Chris Kuper Returns to Broncos Practice, Takes Reps at Center


Chris Kuper against the Baltimore Ravens during the AFC divisional round playoff game at Sports Authority Field. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

I don’t know if the return of Chris Kuper was the big news of Broncos camp on Tuesday or if the fact that he was snapping the ball was.

In any case, Kuper was in full pads for the first time this year after suffering an ankle injury that has forced him to have two major surgeries in less than two years. He was taken off of the Physically Unable to Perform List and participated in individual drills. This comes on the same day that his contract was restructured, reducing his salary from $4.5million (zero guaranteed) to $1.05 million (all is guaranteed) in 2013.

“He has been injured the last couple of years and it really isn’t anyone’s fault,” John Fox said. “He is just one of those guys that I know is tenured here and a leader in that locker room. Once he was healthy enough we wanted to put him back out there, and that seems to be the first step right now.”

During Kuper’s rehab, he worked on snapping the ball.

“Oh yeah, he has been doing his rehab and part of that has been playing around with that a little bit,” Fox said. “So, we will see. We work everybody there and he has just gotten back to where we can get him in uniform and start practicing those skills.”

Kuper has very limited experience at center. The last time the guard played it was his junior of college. Even then, he only played it for three games.

“I just kind of started today,” Kuper said. “I’ve done a little bit in the past but nothing extensive. All of it’s going to be a process coming back and getting healthy and transitioning trying to be the best at whatever position I can play.”

Aside from Kuper’s return, the Broncos had Ryan Clady back in full pads. The offensive line finally looks like an offensive line again with Clady and Orlando Franklin at the left and right tackle position, Zane Beadles and Louis Vasquez at the left and right guard, and Manny Ramirez at center.

 Some highlights from the day included a Peyton Manning touchdown pass to Andre Caldwell over Omar Bolden in 7-on-7 drills.

Once the team went to 11-on-11, Manning found Wes Welker for a touchdown between Chris Harris and Rahim Moore. One play later, Manning hit Julius Thomas in the end zone with Mike Adams defending him.

David Bruton had another solid day, which was highlighted with his pass breakup on a Brock Osweiler to Caldwell attempt.

When the Broncos went “live,” where tacking was allowed near the goal line, Duke Ihenacho intercepted a pass in the end zone.

The Broncos will have a walk-through today at 6:00 p.m.