|Chris Kuper - Photo Courtesy: DenverBroncos.com (AP)|
Kuper, the longest-tenured offensive player on the Broncos, appeared in 90 career regular-season games and one postseason contest while spending his entire eight-year NFL career in Denver. Selected by the club in the fifth round (161st overall) of the 2006 NFL Draft from the University of North Dakota, Kuper totaled 79 career starts that rank seventh in Broncos history among offensive guards.
“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,” Kuper said. “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.”
After seeing time as a reserve during his rookie year in 2006, Kuper went on to start 73-of-78 games over the next five seasons (2007-11) before suffering an ankle injury in the 2011 regular-season finale. He returned to start 6-of-8 total games played in 2012 and was voted by his teammates as Denver’s recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award.
“Chris Kuper had a strong impact on this organization during his eight years in Denver,” Broncos Executive Vice President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway said. “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.”
Kuper’s leadership was recognized when he was named a team captain by the Broncos for three consecutive seasons from 2010-12.
“‘Kup’ consistently demonstrated the type of leadership you look for in a team captain,” Broncos Head Coach John Fox said. “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.”
A two-way lineman at A.J. Dimond High School in Anchorage, Alaska, Kuper went on to become an All-American guard/tackle during his final two collegiate seasons at North Dakota. He was a candidate for the Gene Upshaw Award in 2005, given to the best offensive or defensive lineman in Division II.