ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --For eight seasons, Chris Kuper was a leader in the Broncos' locker room.
Monday afternoon, the offensive lineman stepped away from the game.
Kuper informed the team of his intention to retire after playing in 90 career regular-season games.
"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 in a statement. "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."
In his first seven campaigns, Kuper started 78 career games -- 67 at right guard and 11 at left guard -- allowing just 12 sacks, according to Stats Inc.
The 2012 Pro Bowl alternate was selected by his teammates as the recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award that season after persevering through a fractured and dislocated ankle, which he suffered in the 2011 regular-season finale. He also broke his forearm in the ensuing training camp, but battled back to play in seven regular-season games and one playoff contest.
Prior to the injury, Kuper was one of the Broncos' most dominant linemen. He was named a first-team All-Pro selection by The Dallas Morning News' Rick Gosselin in 2011 after starting all 16 regular-season games and helping the team lead the league in rushing with a team-record 2,632 yards.
In 2008, he was the league's only 16-game starter at guard to not allow a single sack. He was part of an overall effort that saw the Broncos set a club record for fewest sacks allowed -- 12 -- and rank third in the league in yards per rush -- 4.8 -- despite placing seven running backs on injured reserve.
"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."
The former All-American at the University of North Dakota was a three-time team captain for the Broncos and the club's longest-tenured player on offense.
He played in just four games with one start for the Broncos in 2013, which proved to be his final NFL season.
"'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."