Broncos' Paxton will miss Pats game

Broncos will be without starting long snapper

The Denver Broncos will be without long snapper Lonie Paxton for their divisional playoff game against the New England Patriots on Saturday night.

Paxton has been dealing with a family issue all week and was officially ruled out Friday along with receiver Eric Decker (knee).

It's likely that Russ Hochstein will be the fill-in long snapper. Right guard Chris Kuper used to be Paxton's backup but he broke his left leg two weeks ago and was placed on injured reserve. Hochstein, an 11th-year pro who spent six seasons in New England, replaced Kuper on the offensive line.

Paxton was a big part of the Broncos' spectacular special teams, which helped them end a six-year playoff drought. He had just one errant snap all season, leading to a botched extra point.

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