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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 was a stalwart along New England's offensive line from 2003 until the early stages of the 2011 season. (AP)

Dan Koppen says returning to Foxboro for Sunday’s game between the Patriots and Broncos is “going to be fun,” but when it comes to knocking off his old team, they’ll be no added motivation on his part this weekend.

“I’m sure it’s going to be fun,” Koppen said on Monday when asked about facing New England on Sunday. “A little bit different, a little bit of a different view, but it’s still just football.

“I think anytime you step on the field you’ve got motivation,” he added. “If 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.

“I’m just fortunate to be here and be around these guys,” Koppen said. “It’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.

“They’ve got a great group of guys here,” he added. “Coming 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.

“I thought he did very well,” said Fox. “One 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.”

“I’m pretty familiar with [the offense],” Koppen said. “I 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.

“We’ll worry about that afterwards,” Koppen said. “We 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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