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Dan Koppen says there will be no added incentive when it comes to facing his old team

10.01.12 at 7:51 pm ET
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Dan Koppen says returning to Foxboro for Sunday’€™s game between the Patriots and Broncos is ‘€œgoing to be fun,’€ but when it comes to knocking off his old team, they’€™ll be no added motivation on his part this weekend.

‘€œI’€™m sure it’€™s going to be fun,’€ Koppen said on Monday when asked about facing New England on Sunday. ‘€œA little bit different, a little bit of a different view, but it’€™s still just football.

‘€œI think anytime you step on the field you’€™ve got motivation,’€ he added. ‘€œIf you don’€™t, then you’€™re in the wrong business.’€

The 6-foot-2, 300-pound Koppen, who was a fifth-round pick by New England in 2003 out of Boston College, started 120 games over eight season with the Patriots before suffering a fractured ankle midway through the 2011 opener against the Dolphins. The injury landed him on season-ending IR, and after an up-and-down camp, he was released by New England on Aug. 31.

Now with the Broncos, he got into last week’€™s game against the Raiders when starter J.D. Walton went down with an ankle injury — one similar to what Koppen suffered last season. With Walton moving to injured reserve because of the injury, Koppen looks to be the Denver starter going forward.

‘€œI’€™m just fortunate to be here and be around these guys,’€ Koppen said. ‘€œIt’€™s unfortunate that it’€™s this way — you don’€™t want to see anybody get hurt. Just go out there and try to do my job, whatever the coaches ask of me.

‘€œThey’€™ve got a great group of guys here,’€ he added. ‘€œComing in from Day One, everybody’€™s been great. [I’€™m] just trying to get acclimated to what they do and how they do things. Everybody’€™s been helpful.’€

Broncos coach John Fox said it didn’€™t appear that Koppen missed a beat when he relieved Walton last Sunday.

‘€œI thought he did very well,’€ said Fox. ‘€œOne thing about NFL football is the tape is never as good as you think and it’€™s never as bad as you think. We still have a lot of improving to do. Dan with more reps in practice and a better understanding of our offense, he’€™s capable of playing better, but he did a good job kind of on the job training just getting thrown out there quickly when J.D. went down. Considering all that, he did an excellent job.’€

‘€œI’€™m pretty familiar with [the offense],’€ Koppen said. ‘€œI think it’€™s along the same lines of what we ran in New England, which helped. Just a little bit different verbiage and all that stuff. [I’€™ll] get out there this week and try to go from there.’€

Koppen is also entering rare air — he will be the only center in league history who can boast of having worked with future Hall of Famers Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

‘€œWe’€™ll worry about that afterwards,’€ Koppen said. ‘€œWe play with who’€™s out on the field. Fortunately for me, it’€™s been Tom and Peyton. We’€™ve got good players, and it’€™s all about playing together.’€

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