From the Truman Sports Complex
The Chiefs were awarded QB Kyle Orton on waivers Wednesday.
Now the question is how long will it take Orton to make his way to Kansas City?
National reports on ESPN, fueled by Orton’s agent David Dunn, said the quarterback did not want to play for the Chiefs and his people were encouraging the team not to put in a waiver claim on him. Orton wanted to go back to Chicago, the team that traded him away three years ago for Jay Culter, who suffered a broken thumb and is out for the next month at a minimum.
Whether Orton wants to be in Kansas City or not, he has no recourse but to report to the team. It’s the only way he collects the $2.58 million still remaining to be paid over the next six games.
To make room for Orton on the 53-man roster, the Chiefs released WR Keary Colbert on Wednesday afternoon.
Speaking after practice on Wednesday, Tyler Palko appeared unfazed by the addition of Orton, which was the first question he faced when he met with the Kansas City media.
“Todd (Haley) told me after practice that they claimed Kyle,” Palko said. “HeĀ just said we areĀ full speed ahead for Pittsburgh. I was in the huddle today, callingĀ the plays. We have a really good plan and I’m fired up about it. We are going to be OK. We are exciting aboutĀ the challenge of facing this Steelers defense. It’s a good test for us.”Ā
There’s nothing about this situation that makes it harder for Palko.
“You’ve got to understand, I’ve been the practice squad quarterback, the No. 3, the No. 2 and started last week,” Palko said. “One thing that’s helped me prepare for this whole thing is whether I was a practice squad guy with no chance of playing on Sunday, or I was the 3, 2 or 1, I prepared the same way, with the same intensity. That’s not going to change. I’m as focused as I’ve ever been.
“This game is not for the faint of heart. You can’t be sensitive. You can’t worry about things you can’t control. This is a bottom line business and it’s about wins.”
Palko said that he’s been so involved in making his first NFL start Monday night and then coming home on Tuesday and Wednesday and dissecting the tape and preparing for Pittsburgh that he didn’t even know that Orton had been released and could be claimed off the waiver wire.
“We got back early Tuesday morning, I got a couple hours of sleep, I was in the film room all day Tuesday and came in this morning and was watching film,” Palko said. “I haven’t been watching ESPN or reading the paper or anything. That’s not my decision to make. My decision is to prepare as the quarterback of this football team.”
The Chiefs were one of three teams that reportedly put in a claim for the former Chicago-Denver starting quarterback. The others were Dallas and Chicago. In the NFL waiver system at this time of the year, the team with the worst record gets first crack at players released within the league.
Orton was axed on Tuesday after he asked the Broncos for his release. He’d lost the starting job in Denver to Tim Tebow and in recent games was actually the third quarterback behind Tebow and Brady Quinn. That happened on October 9, when he was removed at half-time of the Broncos game with San Diego. Orton was six of 13 for 34 yards and an interception. He’s not played since.
The 6-4, 225-pound native of Iowa is in his seventh NFL season after playing his college ball at Purdue. As a rookie with the Bears in 2005, he ended up starting 15 games in a season where he threw nine TD passes and 13 interceptions.
He reclaimed the starting job in 2008, opening 15 games and throwing 18 TD passes against 12 interceptions. Before the 2009 season, he was traded to the Broncos in a trade that sent the disgruntled Cutler to Chicago.
With the Broncos, Orton started two seasons and then the first five games of the 2011 season combining in that time for 49 TD passes against 28 INTs. He owned a 12-21 record as a starter with Denver.
Over his career, Orton has played in 67 games, with 66 starts. He’s completed 1,225 of 2,107 passes for 13,753 yards, 79 TDs, 55 INTs and he’s been sacked 131 times. His career passer rating is 79.4. His record as a starting quarterback is 32-34.
Despite the fact they were going to get nothing in return for releasing Orton, the Broncos went ahead and did so anyway on Tuesday, at the request of the quarterback and his agent.
“He’s been an absolute pro and even this year with the trying times going on, he’s handled it like a pro,” John Elway, the Broncos’ executive vice president of football operations, said in a team released statement. “We just thought it was the best for the Broncos at this time, as well as giving Kyle an opportunity to catch on with another team and showcase his talents there.”
Just recently, Orton was talking about how the season has gone for him.
“I’m disappointed; I wish a lot of things could be different,” Orton said. “I feel like I still have a lot of good football left in me, whether it’s here or someplace else. I know I can play and I’ll just work for another opportunity.”
No word yet on when Orton is expected to be with the Chiefs.