Retired from NFL, Kuper looks forward to slowing down

July 31, 2014

Chris Kuper FootballNormally about now Chris Kuper of Anchorage would be spending all his time at training camp with Denver Broncos.

Today the only camping he’s doing is overnight trips with his wife and kids.

The 31-year-old former offensive lineman retired after eight years in the NFL, during which the 6-foot-4, 300-pounder earned a reputation as one of the most durable guards in the league.

He already misses not playing in the NFL.

“It’s going to be hard. I think probably the next couple of years will be difficult, but going to training camp is not the part that I miss,” he told the CBS affiliate in Denver.

Kuper, of Dimond High fame, started 79 of 90 games as a fifth-round draft pick and was part of last year’s Broncos team that went to the Super Bowl. He was a team captain in 2010.

He was a mainstay on the offensive line for years and one season didn’t give up a single sack. However, leg injuries finally caught up with the big guy and forced him to hang up his cleats in March.

Last season he started only one game – this from a guy who started as many as 15 games from 2008 to 2011. The injuries took their tool, and he was no longer the same player.

“I was hurting a lot and I wasn’t playing as well as U was the previous couple years,” Kuper said. “That was kind of the point where I had an idea that I might be shutting it down.”

The good news is that retirement allows him to spend more time with his young family.

“I’m just hanging out with my kids and my wife right now – and some camping,” he said.

Not playing football has other perks. He’s lost 20 pounds and joined a hockey league.

“That’s my conditioning now,” he said. “No more running for me.”