He was a late signing at the conclusion of the preseason, a veteran presence that Bills head coach Doug Marrone felt had to be on the roster at the most important position. Come season’s end Kyle Orton made 12 starts going 7-5 for the Bills. On Monday he announced this season would be his last in the NFL.
“I just have been going at it for 10 years and it’s just a family decision and I’ve decided to get home and be a dad and call it a day,” said Orton.
Orton, who was contemplating retirement this past offseason signed with the Bills and had a player option to return for the 2015 season, but wanting to be close to family again has his mind made up.
“I think I’ve been away from my parents since going to college, so 14 years,” he said. “Anytime you have a chance to end on a good note and go home and spend time with family that’s really important to me and my wife and we’re just excited to move on.”
He also said there is no NFL scenario that will change his mind to retire at this time.
“No, as I said it’s not a decision based on anything football-wise, just a family decision and one I’m going to stick to,” Orton said.
Orton eclipsed the 3,000-yard passing mark for the fifth season in his career on Sunday in the win over New England, the first ever for the Bills at Gillette Stadium. He was grateful to get the opportunity to see as much action as he did for Buffalo after taking over in Week 5 at quarterback.
“I was real thankful that they brought me in,” he said. “I talked to coach Marrone and he’s one of the best coaches I’ve been around. My relationship with him was awesome this year. I respect what he did for the team. I think he’s a great head coach and has the organization certainly going in the right direction.”
As for what he’ll remember most, Orton said it won’t be the big game or come from behind victories. For him it’ll be the people with whom he built relationships.
“Just all the teammates. I’ve been blessed to be around great teammates ever since I started in Chicago, we’ve been with great organizations and made so many friends and relationships that I don’t know if I’ll remember much stuff on the field,” he said. “It’s all the stuff in the locker room and those friendships that you make that will be long lasting.”
Orton’s retirement leaves the Bills without a veteran at the quarterback position.
“The sky is the limit for EJ,” he said. “He’s got all the ability in the world. I hope having a veteran guy around kind of showing the way a little bit helped him. I guess we’ll wait and see, but he’s a good quarterback. He’s got his head on his shoulders and he’ll be fine.”