The Denver Broncos agreed to terms with free-agent center Dan Koppen on Thursday, after news that J.D. Walton will be out until mid-October due to a left ankle injury that forced him to the bench only four games into the 2012 season. Koppen then became the starting center for the rest of the regular season and one playoff game. Alongside him in the offense is another familiar face, former teammate with the New England Patriots, Wes Welker. Koppen won two Super Bowls with the Patriots, and helped the Broncos last season to rank fourth in total offense. According to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, it’s a one year contract, per a source close to the player.
Koppen was a fifth-round pick out of Boston College in 2003, chosen by the New England Patriots to be All-Pro center Damien Woody’s backup, but an injury to Woody in week two gave Koppen the chance to start his first professional game. Though Woody returned the next week, the next season Woody signed with the Detroit Lions, giving Koppen full control of the center position, where he earned his second Super Bowl ring against the Philadelphia Eagles. After an injury in Week 1 of the 2011 season, he was placed on injured reserve, and ultimately was cut on August 31st of last year, the deadline for all final cuts. In September 2012, he signed to a one-year deal with the Denver Broncos.
After the news of Walton’s injury, there was little doubt that the Broncos wouldn’t resign Koppen. Though they have Manny Ramirez on the roster, and he practiced at center in mini-camp all week, why fix what’s not broken? However, the Broncos’ bye-week comes on November 3rd, so there is a large possibility that Walton could return after then, pending that there are no complications in his recovery.