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Manning sick over Walton, glad to have Koppen

Associated Press Modified: October 3, 2012 at 6:02 pm •  Published: October 3, 2012

Koppen started 134 games for the Patriots, including the playoffs, before breaking a bone in his lower left leg in the opener last season. He spent the rest of the year on injured reserve and then lost a competition to Ryan Wendell in training camp.

The Broncos signed him three weeks ago.

"It's been great. We haven't been together too long yet, but I'm sure glad we brought him in," coach John Fox said. "At no point were we thinking he'd be lining up as the starting center as we head into Foxborough this weekend."

The Broncos are set to get right guard Chris Kuper back from a broken left forearm that sidelined him most of the preseason and the first month of the regular season.

With Kuper and Koppen, the experience quotient in Manning's pocket of protection rises exponentially.

"He won a lot of games and has some great experience," wide receiver Eric Decker said of Koppen. "So, to have him around is just going to make us better."

Koppen said that while he's got a long way to go, he's already comfortable in Denver's offense.

"I'm pretty familiar with it. I think it's along the same lines of what we ran in New England, which helped. Just a little bit different verbiage and all that stuff," Koppen said.

He's taking his homecoming in stride, too.

"I'm sure it's going to be fun. A little bit different, a little bit of a different view, but it's still just football," Koppen said.

Notes: The Broncos had their first perfect attendance at practice this season on Wednesday although Kuper and LB Nate Irving (concussion) were limited. ... Broncos FB Chris Gronkowski on facing his brother, Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski, and who his parents will be rooting for: "I keep asking them who they're cheering for and they won't tell me, so we're going to have to see on game day what jersey they're wearing." ... K Matt Prater won his fourth career AFC Player of the Week award after kicking three FGs against Oakland and putting all 8 kickoffs out of the end zone for touchbacks.


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