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Former Bronco Chris Kuper Trades Football For Hockey

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DENVER (CBS4) – This is the time of the year that Chris Kuper would be getting ready to report to training camp. But this year the former Broncos offensive lineman is doing some actual camping.

“I’m going camping this week, so I’ll be having a good time,” Kuper said on Xfinity Monday Live.

Chris Kuper with CBS4's Tom Helmer on Xfinity Monday Live! (credit: CBS)

Chris Kuper with CBS4’s Tom Helmer on Xfinity Monday Live! (credit: CBS)

He said it’s finally sunk in that he has retired from the NFL after having a lot of fun this summer — instead of the grueling task of keeping in football shape. But he said it’s still going to be hard not playing.

“It’s going to be hard. I think probably the next couple of years will be difficult, but this time of year, I guess, going to training camp is not the part that I miss. Maybe after practice in the locker room and joking around with everybody, but I’m having a great time right now,” Kuper said.

Kuper only started one game last year – against the Indianapolis Colts – and he said he was hurting a lot and heard the clock ticking on his career.

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

Kuper, like all the Broncos players, was disappointed about the loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl, but he said he has a lot of confidence about next season.

“I have a lot of faith that they’re going to come back and do it this year.”

He said that loss will act as fuel for the Broncos to bring home the Lombardi Trophy next season.

Looking back on his career, Kuper had one outstanding season where he started all 16 games and didn’t give up one sack. But Kuper said that was early in his career and he felt he had better seasons.

“Even though that was statistically a great year for me, I felt I had better years. I go back to the Tebow year where we ran the ball so much but it really wasn’t my game. I was proud of that year.”

But that’s all in the past now and Kuper is looking forward to enjoying more recreational activities, such as camping.

“I’m just hanging out with my kids and my wife right now — and some camping.”

Kuper said he’s lost 20 pounds since he retired, which is good since he’s not completely giving up sports. He grew up in Alaska and also plays hockey.

“So that’s my conditioning now, no more running for me. I’ll do a little bit of weightlifting, but hockey is it now.”

Lucky for his opponents there’s no checking in his hockey league.

- By Matthew J. Buettner, CBSDenver.com

Watch more of the video with Chris Kuper in the Xfinity Monday Live! section.

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