Denver Broncos guard Chris Kuper is retiring, the Denver Post reported Monday. The move has since been announced by the team.
Chris suffered a devastating ankle injury in 2011 when Orlando Franklin rolled up off the back of his leg. The ankle was completely dislocated, and after a couple of attempts to come back and be the same dominating force up front, Kuper struggled.
"The season kind of furthered my idea that this would probably be the end for me," Kuper said over lunch Monday at the Inverness Hotel in Englewood. "I didn't feel good all season. I did my best when I was out there. I just wasn't the same player. And I think that's a big part of my decision, not being the same player."
During a five year stretch ending 2011, Kuper started 78 games and helped the 2011 squad become the best rushing team in the NFL behind the potent running attack of Tim Tebow.
Last season Kuper took a pay cut and remained on the roster as a reserve seeing some time against the Colts. It was apparent then that Kuper did not possess the same kind of power that he did.
This move will free up 4.1 million dollars in cap space for the Broncos. Kuper's contract and incentives put his cap number at 5.9 million with 1.8 million in dead money.
A Mile High Salute to Chris Kuper, Broncos Country wishes him the best going forward!
Statement from Chris Kuper
"I'd like to thank Mr. Bowlen, John Elway, Coach Fox and the coaching staff for giving me the opportunity to play for the Broncos. I'm also appreciative of Mike Shanahan for drafting me and bringing me into this organization back in 2006. So many people have supported me during my career, including all my teammates and coaches, my parents, David and Tina, and especially my wife, Cynthia.
"This felt like the right time for me to leave this game on my terms. I'm going to miss hanging out in the locker room, and the offensive line meeting room, in particular. We shared a lot of laughs. I was fortunate to grow up in the game around a good group of veterans, especially Tom Nalen and Ben Hamilton, and became great friends with so many of the guys.
"I sincerely appreciate all of the support from Broncos fans over the years, and I am excited for new opportunities in the future."
Statement from John Elway
"Chris Kuper had a strong impact on this organization during his eight years in Denver. He was a great Bronco whose toughness and grit made us better. I congratulate Chris on his outstanding NFL career and wish him well in his retirement from football."
Statement from John Fox
"‘Kup' consistently demonstrated the type of leadership you look for in a team captain. He earned the respect of his teammates and coaches for his dedication to the game. I congratulate him on a great career, and I thank him for his many contributions to our team."