Kuper's rise "surreal"

Chris Kuper

Chris Kuper called his rise through the Denver Broncos' organization surreal.

Kuper was a sixth-round pick in 2006, hopeful to make the roster. Four years later he was given a lucrative contract extension that made him among the best paid guards in the NFL. The total value of his six-year deal is $28.12 million with $13 million guaranteed.

"Not too many people get to experience this," Kuper said.

Kuper is a holdover from the Mike Shanahan days, but Josh McDaniels was impressed with the right guard's toughness and athleticism. McDaniels obviously thinks Kuper -- who was excellent in Shanahan's zone-blocking scheme -- can be just as effective in his power-running scheme.

Kuper was a restricted free agent, and uncertainty about the labor situation in 2011 made him unsure whether he would get a long-term extension. Teammates Elvis Dumervil and Kyle Orton haven't received long-term deals as restricted free agents, and Brandon Marshall and Tony Scheffler were traded.

Other players around the NFL have been given extensions despite the labor unrest, which gave Kuper some optimism.

"I wasn't sure, and very, very happy it did happen," Kuper said. "I think there's guys out there that were getting deals done. Not a ton, but to be one of those guys is an unbelievable feeling."

The Broncos obviously want to build around their young offensive line, which also features Ryan Clady, Ryan Harris and three 2010 draft picks, so getting Kuper locked up for the long term was important.

"He exemplifies the qualities that we look for in our players both on and off the field," Broncos coach Josh McDaniels said.



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