Advertisement

 ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) - Broncos center Dan Koppen is out for the season after tearing his left ACL on Sunday in 9-on-7 drills, less than six weeks after rejoining Denver following J.D. Walton's setback in his comeback from ankle surgery.
Koppen, an 11-year veteran who played his first nine seasons with the Patriots, was caught in a pile early in the workout and was carted off the field and taken for an MRI, which revealed the season-ending injury.
Manny Ramirez, who took most of the snaps at center during Denver's offseason practices, stepped in for Koppen, whose teams have gone 108-28 in games he has started.
``I always cringe,'' a somber-sounding coach John Fox said after practice. ``You never like to see players get injured, particularly severely injured. But you understand when you do this long enough, whether you're a player or a coach, that this happens. You know, you get them back ready. And you've got some guys that have worked hard off of injuries last year and it will be no different this year.''
Koppen's injury is the latest setback to Peyton Manning's patched-up pocket of protection.
Left guard Zane Beadles was the only starting lineman to come out of last season unscathed.
All-Pro left tackle Ryan Clady has been limited at training camp since signing a $57.5 million contract earlier this month as he recovers from right shoulder surgery. Tackle Orlando Franklin (toe, shoulder) and guard Chris Kuper (ankle) are also coming off surgeries. Franklin has been back at practice but Kuper hasn't.
With Kuper needing another operation this offseason, the Broncos signed right guard Louis Vasquez in free agency.
Ramirez started 11 games at right guard last season.
``We need that flexibility,'' Fox said. ``When you pick your offensive line, not just for the season, but for game day, you have to pick them from the standpoint of having some flexibility. You've got to have a swing guard/center, you've got to have a swing tackle/guard, for the games.''
Defensive lineman Derek Wolfe also sprained an ankle and didn't return to Saturday's practice, which was the second straight workout in full pads for the Broncos.
``That's the Catch-22 any coach goes through any time of year,'' Fox said. ``You're getting ready for the season and you need to get into pads because you've got to get in shape and yet you're still trying to make sure you've got enough guys to battle with.''
---
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
---
Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

Recent NFL Discussions

Advertisement

NFL Top Stories

Thumbnail Redskins 2016 Win Total Pick   After being the surprise winner of the NFC East in 2015, can the Washington Redskins find a way to have another big season in...
Thumbnail Bills Season Win Total Prediction Rex Ryan blew into Orchard Park last January with his patented bravado dialed up to 11, but all the swagger in the world couldn’t mask another disappointing...
Thumbnail Chicago Bears Win Total Picks The Chicago Bears find themselves in a competitive NFC North Division. Can they navigate the waters in 2016 to have a winning...
Thumbnail Rams Season Win Total Prediction Amid all the hullaballoo surrounding their move (back) to Los Angeles, the Rams actually lost some fairly significant pieces on the personnel side. Will a new man...
Thumbnail Dolphins Season Win Total Prediction With a new head coach and several fresh faces, will the Miami Dolphins win over or under 7 games in 2016?
More inNFL Articles  
Advertisement

NFL Team Pages

Advertisement