Login  |   Register
On Now
Coming Up
  • Sat., Jan. 28, 2017 12:30 PM MST Senior Bowl Senior Bowl, Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Alabama
  • Sun., Jan. 29, 2017 6:00 PM MST NFL Pro Bowl NFL Pro Bowl, Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida
  • Sun., Feb. 05, 2017 4:30 PM MST Super Bowl LI Super Bowl LI, NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
  • Wed., Feb. 15, 2017 12:00 AM MST First day to designate Franchise or Transition players First day for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.
  • Tue., Feb. 28, 2017 12:00 AM MST Combine Timing and Testing The Combine begins in Indianapolis and runs through March 6.
  • Wed., Mar. 01, 2017 2:00 PM MST Deadline to designate Francise or Transition Players Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.
  • Tue., Mar. 07, 2017 12:00 AM MST Teams may negotiate with their own Unrestricted Free Agents

    During the period beginning at 12 noon, New York time, on March 7th and ending at 3:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 9th, clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with the certified agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2016 player contracts at 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 9. However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 9.

    During the above two-day negotiating period, no direct contact is permitted between a prospective unrestricted free agent and any employee or representative of a club, other than the player’s current club.

  • Thu., Mar. 09, 2017 12:00 AM MST 2017 League Year and Free Agency begin

    The 2017 League Year and Free Agency period begin at 4:00 p.m., New York time.

    The first day of the 2017 League Year will end at 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 9. Clubs will receive a personnel notice that will include all transactions submitted to the League office during the period between 4:00 p.m., New York time, and 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 9.

    Trading period for 2017 begins at 4:00 p.m., New York time, after expiration of all 2016 contracts.

  • Sun., Mar. 26, 2017 12:00 AM MDT Annual League Meeting Annual League Meeting, Phoenix, Arizona.
  • Mon., Apr. 03, 2017 12:00 AM MDT Clubs with new head coaches may begin offseason workouts Clubs that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2016 regular season may begin offseason workout programs.
Print
RSS

Reflecting on Kuper's Career

Posted Mar 10, 2014

Independent analyst Andrew Mason takes a look back at Chris Kuper's career -- and the injury that changed it.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Chris Kuper had the bad timing to be drafted in 2006, just as the Broncos were about to begin their longest playoff absence since the 1970s -- and that's why what ultimately befell him on Jan. 1, 2012 against the Chiefs was so frustrating.

It was the day the Broncos clinched their first playoff spot since 2005, which would have been the first postseason trip of Kuper's career. As one of the longest-tenured Broncos on the roster, he'd more than paid his dues in anticipation of that moment.

But as the Broncos began preparations for a wild-card clash with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Kuper was preparing for surgery on his left leg, which was fractured in gruesome fashion in that regular-season finale.

Kuper was never the same after that injury, in which his fibula was broken in multiple places and his ankle ligaments were torn. A fractured left forearm suffered in training camp the following summer didn't help, but from that point forward, pain in the left leg was something Kuper had to endure in order to play.

He had more surgery after a truncated 2012 season in which he dealt with problems in the same ankle. That year also provided the Pro Bowl selection that he had deserved years before, but more surgery prevented him from taking the trip to Hawai'i.

That's a shame. Even though his leg kept him from playing at a Pro Bowl level in 2012, he had played at that point from 2009-11. Through quarterback and offensive scheme changes, he was the rock of the line. The captain's "C" he wore on his jersey in recent years was earned through diligence and success.

Fortunately for Kuper, he was able to flourish long enough to reap financial rewards from his career. Although he didn't last for the entire length of the contract he signed in June 2010, he was able to make over $13 million from 2010 onward. And he will receive an AFC Championship ring, even though he was inactive for the entire postseason.

But Kuper's career will sadly be defined as much by what could have been as what was. When he fractured his fibula, he was at the cusp of becoming a household name league-wide, and he was making a case to be the best guard in Broncos history.

This sport can create cruel turns of fortune, and few know that better than the Broncos' esteemed No. 73.