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Broncos sign C Manny Ramirez to 2-year extension

AP - Sports

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) -- Manny Ramirez is in the Denver Broncos' long-term plans, less than a week after making his first career start at center.

The Broncos announced Wednesday night they had signed Ramirez to a two-year contract extension through 2015.

The seventh-year pro played in a career-best 15 games last season, including 11 starts at right guard before sliding over to center this offseason when J.D. Walton had a setback in his recovery from ankle surgery.

Dan Koppen, last year's starter, blew out a knee when training camp began and Ramirez fended off challenges from Ryan Lilja and Steve Vallos. Longtime guard Chris Kuper, coming back from a second surgery on his left ankle, which was broken in the 2011 season finale, also tried his hand at center this summer, but he hasn't snapped the ball in a game since his junior year at North Dakota in 2004.

Coach John Fox on Monday praised Ramirez's play in Denver's 49-27 win over Baltimore last week in which Peyton Manning threw an NFL record-tying seven touchdown passes.

''As I've said many times, I don't know if people believed me, but Manny Ramirez is our starting center and he was since last offseason. I thought he performed well,'' Fox said earlier this week. ''That was a very formidable front that we played against. I haven't seen everybody, but they're in the top-5 in the league. They've got more than one deep. I thought, all-in-all, was it perfect? No. But for a first outing, I thought our offensive line matched up very well.''

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

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