The Denver Broncos have had some bad luck trying to fill the center position.
Denver had hoped that C J.D. Walton would be their starting center, but Walton required more surgery recently on an ankle that he injured last September and is expected to miss much, if not all of the season.
After losing Walton, Denver quickly moved to sign C Dan Koppen to fill Walton's role. Koppen had played for Denver last year and started most of the year, so it seemed like a no-brainer to bring him back. However, bad luck struck again for the Broncos. On Saturday, it was confirmed that Koppen would need to have season ending surgery after tearing his ACL during training camp.
With Koppen now out, the Broncos have turned their search to retired guard/center Ryan Lilja according to FOXSports1′s Alex Marvez.
Ryan Lilja, who is only 31-years-old is very familiar with the Broncos' star QB Peyton Manning. Both played together for the Colts from 2004 to 2009. Lilja should have no problems catching up with Manning's audibles and play calling.
Sounds like a no-brainer for the Broncos, right? Not so fast, there's a few issues. For one, Lilja played guard, not center. Though many offensive linemen can make the transition between the two positions, it might not be ideal. Second, the Broncos would need to convince Ryan Lilja to come out of retirement. Third, Lilja had surgery on his knee and toe after the season ended in 2012. Who knows if he is healthy enough to play.
With all those things said, it still might be the best option the Broncos feel they have. As it stands right now, the starting center for the Denver Broncos is Manny Ramirez. Ramirez did not get much playing time, but is remembered for struggling mightily in the playoff loss to the Ravens last year.
Clearly the Broncos and Manning do not feel that comfortable with Ramirez or they would not to be calling out of the NFL free agents like Dan Koppen and now Ryan Lilja. Peyton Manning is known to be pretty convincing. Perhaps if he gives Lilja a call and entices him with another Super Bowl run, that'll be enough to get his ex teammate to Denver.