Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

Manny Ramirez working at center with Broncos' first team

By: Brooke Pryor sports@gazette.com
July 29, 2013 Updated: July 29, 2013 at 5:20 pm
0
photo - Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning takes a snap from center Manny Ramirez (66) during NFL football training camp, Monday, July 29, 2013, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning takes a snap from center Manny Ramirez (66) during NFL football training camp, Monday, July 29, 2013, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey) 

After last season's starting center Dan Koppen suffered a season-ending ACL tear Sunday, five-time Pro Bowl selection and former Broncos center Tom Nalen tweeted, "Just finished mowing the lawn. 3 hours in the sun. waiting on #broncos call."

Neither John Elway nor any other member of the Broncos organization called Nalen to bring the recently elected Ring of Fame member back to Dove Valley in pads.

But the tweet does speak to the question that now lies in place of the man who'll be snapping the ball to Peyton Manning

Coach John Fox was adamant that the starting job belonged to Manny Ramirez, who's held it since spring practices.

"Manny Ramirez has been our starting center and has been all season," Fox said. "Danny Koppen only signed 10 days ago and you never like to see something like that happen."

But Ramirez didn't seem to be aware that he's been Fox's starter all along.

"You all know coach Fox's philosophy: 'Next man up,'" Ramirez said. "And that's the case again. I'm just going to do anything I can to help out the team."

Koppen, who previously snapped for Tom Brady, played in 15 games for the Broncos last season, starting 12

The Broncos re-signed Koppen after J.D. Walton underwent an unexpected offseason ankle surgery to further repair the September injury.

Manning and Koppen immediately clicked and the transition was relatively seamless. But the shift from Koppen to Ramirez might not be as smooth for Manning.

"With Dan Koppen, it took a couple weeks and then he knew what was going on," Nalen said. "But might have had something to do with Tom Brady. It may never happen, that's my worry."

Ramirez has a good relationship with Manning, and said that the two already have good communication.

There's still time for Manning and Ramirez to get adjusted to working with each other - the season opener is more than a month away - but Nalen said by about the third preseason game, it should be obvious whether the two will work well together.

If Ramirez bobbles the starting job, the team has limited candidates to fill the slot. The Broncos signed veteran free agent Steve Vallos, who previously played with Seattle, Cleveland, Jacksonville and Philadelphia.

There's also the possibility of moving guard Chris Kuper to center, but Kuperwas placed on the physically unable to perform list. He is recovering from an ankle injury. And of course, there is still the hope that Walton will return during the season to reclaim his spot.

"We will consider anything that is going to better our team," Fox said. "Right now we are trying to get him healthy ... He definitely an option, same as J.D. Walton."

Nalen isn't panicking just yet.

"There's plenty of time for Manny, and he's just one guy," Nalen said. "It's important because of the relationship he has with Peyton. But it's not time to panic, we still have Peyton Manning as a quarterback and great receivers and premiere left tackles."

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Incognito Mode Your browser is in Incognito mode

You vanished!

We welcome you to read all of our stories by signing into your account. If you don't have a subscription, please subscribe today for daily award winning journalism.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

Some news is free.
Exceptional journalism takes time, effort and your support.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

articles remaining
×
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.