Chris Kuper went to the Denver Broncos in the 2006 NFL draft.
ANCHORAGE – Chris Kuper may not have played in that seemingly one-sided game Sunday night, but he’s still considered the third Alaskan to make it to the Super Bowl.
The Denver Bronco has battled injuries and it’s the reason he’s only seen time in four games this year. The main culprit happened Jan. 1, 2012 when he broke his ankle at home against the Chiefs. The following season he re-broke the same area of his leg.
“He had developed a systemic infection,” said David Kuper, Chris’s dad. “That’s why his bones weren’t healing.”
Before his injuries, the six-year starter was considered to be one of the best guards in the NFL. He had to decline a Pro-Bowl invitation last season due to the injuries. In 2008, he was the only guard in the league to not allow a single sack in 16 games as a starter.
Kuper’s journey began here in Anchorage as a junior football player. His dad was the coach and had him at quarterback instead of on the line. Kuper continued to play behind center until sophomore year at Dimond High School.
“I remember watching him and going, ‘Yeah, kid’s got a good arm, but you know, I think his quarterback days are probably going to be numbered pretty quick,’” said former Dimond head coach Duncan Shackelford.
Kuper would eventually go to the line and as a senior he helped lead his team to an undefeated season in 2000. The year culminated in a 28-21 win over Colony High School for the state title.
The young lineman chose to play at the University of North Dakota. He played in two national championships with the Sioux and won one of them as a freshman.
He entered into the 2006 NFL draft the same year as North Pole’s Daryn Colledge. While Colledge was picked 47th by the Green Bay Packers and turned out to be the second Alaskan ever to make it to a Super Bowl, Kuper went 161st to the Denver Broncos in the fifth round