Alaskans on move in NFL: Kuper retires, Colledge enters free agency

Beth Bragg

One of Alaska's three NFL players is retiring and another is entering free agency.

Chris Kuper, a Dimond High graduate and eight-year veteran with the Denver Broncos, announced his retirement Monday.

Daryn Colledge, a North Pole graduate and eight-year veteran, most recently with Arizona, is a free agent, he said via Twitter. He has two years remaining on his contract with the Cardinals, so it's safe to expect them to release Colledge on Tuesday when the league's unrestricted free agency opens.

Kuper, an offensive lineman who was a Broncos co-captain for three seasons, is retiring after struggling through two seasons with an ankle injury.

He started in 79 games, including seven after he dislocated his ankle in the final game of the 2011 regular season. He was limited to one start last season.

"The season kind of furthered my idea that this would probably be the end for me," Kuper told the Denver Post. "I didn't feel good all season. I did my best when I was out there. I just wasn't the same player. And I think that's a big part of my decision, not being the same player."

Kuper told the Post that the thing he'll miss most about the game is the locker room.

"You go from high school to college to the NFL, you don't really have to grow up when you're in that locker room," he said. "You can be as sick a kid as you want. That's how it is and that's the fun part of it. Guys getting razzed. Playing in games is fun. That's great. But the locker room was it."

Kuper has one year left on a five-year, $25.5 million contract.

Colledge, also an offensive lineman, spent five seasons in Green Bay before joining the Cardinals. He has two years remaining on a five-year, $27 million contract.

Colledge started every game last season and hasn't missed a single game in eight seasons -- including last season, when he played with a fractured leg.

"For now while I wait for (free agency) and my future," Colledge tweeted Sunday.

"Thanks for all the support guys, it means a ton, I've enjoyed my time. Between the Pack and Card fans my next team has a lot to live up to," he said in another tweet.

Alaska's third NFL player, Bartlett graduate Zach Bowman, is in the final year of his contract with the Bears.

Reach Beth Bragg at or 257-4335.