Dan Koppen has a torn ACL (USA Today Sports Images)
The Broncos have confirmed the season-ending injury.
Koppen, who turns 34 on Sept. 12, signed a one-year, $915,000 contract with the Broncos on July 2 after center J.D. Walton underwent another surgery on his left ankle. Walton, currently on the "active/physically unable to perform" list, broke his ankle last September and the setback in his recovery is expected to cost him the entire 2013 season. The Broncos added Koppen last September and the former New England Patriots stalwart would go on to start the final 12 regular season games, as well as Denver's playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
With Walton and Koppen out, the Broncos turned to guard Manny Ramirez to play center on Sunday. Ramirez, a 2007 fourth-round pick from Texas Tech who joined the Broncos as a free agent in 2012, has been cross-training at the center position in the opening days of training camp.
“We need that flexibility," head coach John 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. Typically you go in with five and bring up two backups. I’m sure that’s the way we will go. And who they are, these guys will determine by how they play in this training camp and preseason."
The only other center option on the Broncos is 2012 fourth-round pick Philip Blake, who did not play as a rookie due a thumb injury. The Broncos will certainly be scouring for additional options on the waiver wire and street free agent market.
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