Broncos sign Peyton Manning's former teammate to play center

Offensive lineman Ryan Lilja agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the Broncos on Wednesday. (USATSI)
Offensive lineman Ryan Lilja agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the Broncos on Wednesday. (USATSI)

Ryan Lilja's plans to retire have hit a slight snag.

Lilja announced his retirement at the end of the 2012 season, but instead of retiring, the 31-year-old offensive lineman will play at least one more season after agreeing to terms on a one-year contract with the Broncos on Wednesday.

Lilja will be reunited with former Colts teammate Peyton Manning. The two spent five seasons together in Indianapolis. 

The Broncos have been looking for a center since Saturday when starter Dan Koppen tore his ACL. Koppen opened up the 2012 season as the team's No. 2 center, but a broken ankle suffered by starter J.D. Walton in Week 4 forced Koppen into the starting spot. 

Walton is still recovering from the broken ankle he suffered in Week 4 and isn't expected back before the regular season starts. Fourth-string center Manny Ramirez had been snapping to Peyton Manning. 

Speaking of Manning, he's already somewhat familiar with Lilja, who started 59 games at guard for the Colts while Manning was in Indianapolis.

Lilja doesn't have a ton of experience at center, but he did start 12 games at the position for the Chiefs last season. Lilja is the second center the Broncos have signed this week. The team also signed on Sunday. 

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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