As Trade Possibilities Percolate, Orton’s Status is Complicated

ORTON: ... Broncos didn't hold him back Thursday morning. (PHOTO: MAXDENVER.COM)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Much to the surprise of many, Kyle Orton strode through the orange double doors and onto the practice field Thursday morning.

To the surprise of even more, he went through the paces of practice as though it were any other training-camp session in his three years with the Denver Broncos, leading the first-team offense just as he had each of the last two summers.

He laughed and bantered with teammates throughout the two-hour practice, giving no indication that a trade to the Miami Dolphins was imminent.

“There’s a lot of stuff that goes on business-wise, but I don’t have any hard feelings or anything,” Orton said. “I’m happy to be with my teammates today and excited to have a great year.”

“I think my tune has been about the same; I’m not saying it sounds good. But Kyle is under contract; he’s going to start the depth chart at No. 1,” Broncos head coach John Fox added. “I don’t think the story’s changed much.”

Orton might be ticketed for the Miami Dolphins and a reunion with former teammate Brandon Marshall, but on Thursday, his receivers remained Brandon Lloyd, Eddie Royal and Eric Decker, and he remained in a blue No. 8 jersey.

The rust that was evident on nearly all players was largely absent from Orton. He was easily the best of the Broncos’ four quarterbacks, confidently flinging passes and avoiding an interception on all of his throws during team and seven-on-seven periods.

“I thought we went out and practiced good to be honest with you,” Orton said. “The timing was good. the calls, certainly there was a lot of carryover from last year offensively.

“To be honest with you, I thought we looked pretty sharp and completed a lot of passes, did well in the run game and got off to a good start.”

But will he be there to finish out the season as a Bronco — and do so as the starter? Orton’s answer to both unknowns was the same — yes, he would prefer both, at “100 percent.”

“I’m excited to put my best football on the field,” Orton said. “That’s the only thing I’m worried about.”

But others around Orton fretted over the attention given to the speculation about a trade to Miami, and the potential for awkwardness that could exist as he remains on the roster while Tim Tebow waits.

Brady Quinn, the third quarterback up during Thursday morning’s practice, made it amply clear that he didn’t want to touch upon the subject.

“I don’t know. I mean, look, I’m not going to go into … if you want to ask questions about football, ask questions about football,” Quinn said. “You know, I’m not here (to comment) on anyone’s relationship status, OK?”

Besides, he probably couldn’t explain it. As long as the possibility of a trade looms over Orton, it’s complicated.

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About Andrew Mason

Andrew Mason has covered the NFL since 1999, when he worked as an editor on NFL.com when the site was managed by ESPN.com. He worked six seasons (2002-07) covering the Broncos on their official website and two (2008-09) on the Panthers' site. He began MaxDenver.com in 2010 and now contributes to CBSSports.com, The Sporting News and The New York Times.

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