Thursday, October 4, 2012

Manning fortunate to have ex-Patriot Koppen around


With Dan Connolly taking full-time snapping duties in 2012, the New England Patriots didn't have much use for former longtime starting center Dan Koppen, so they cut him before the start of the season.

The Denver Broncos scooped him up for depth, and it's a good thing they did. Denver lost starting center J.D. Walton for the season due to a broken ankle he suffered last week.

With that, through just a quarter of the season, quarterback Peyton Manning is working with his second center on his new team.

"Well certainly I’m sick about J.D. Walton’s injury. I know how hard he’s worked this offseason," Manning told the Patriots media via conference call. "He and I have spent a great deal of time together; that’s probably the first thing I did when I got here, was getting snaps with J.D. The quarterback-center exchange is vital and so I’m sick about his injury."

Insert Koppen, who had started at center for the Patriots since his rookie season in 2003.

"When you lose a starting center who has started every game for the past three years, it’s very rare that you can replace him with a veteran like Dan who has played in many huge games and is experienced," Manning said. "So we feel fortunate to have him and it’s always nice having a veteran player who’s been around winning for his entire career on your team."

Koppen will face his former team for the first time Sunday when the Patriots host the Broncos.

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