Evidently Bears quarterback Kyle Orton has thicker skin than Denver Broncos diva Jay Cutler.
Cutler threw a tantrum after he learned the Broncos had considered trading their starting quarterback for ex-Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel, who wound up with the Chiefs instead. Meanwhile, Orton has shrugged off Bears General Manager Jerry Angelo's stated desire to "stabilize" the quarterback position.
"It doesn't really mean a whole lot to me," Orton said Tuesday afternoon after the first practice of a three-day minicamp. "I'm going to do everything I can and work as hard as I can and be the guy that stabilizes it. I don't think (Angelo) is saying that I'm not going to be the guy. I'm going to be that guy. I think this is my offense. I'm just working as hard as I can to show everybody that it's my job."
Orton's play was exceptional last season through the first seven games. But in Game Eight he suffered a sprained ankle, and after that his production plummeted. Orton threw 10 TD passes and just 4 interceptions before the injury. Afterward he had 8 TD passes and 8 picks. The Bears were 5-3 in the first half of the season and 4-4 in the second half, when Orton said the ankle bothered him more than he and the Bears let on.
"I wasn't healthy," said Orton, who missed just one start but was shaky in his first game back, a 37-3 loss to the Green Bay Packers. "I came out and tried to lead my football team and tried to do whatever I could to win. I'd make the same decision again if it happened. It was unfortunate, and I didn't play as well as I would have liked to. There's always circumstances around that, but I'm happy with what I did trying to go out and play hurt and lead my football team."
Orton rebounded with a solid game against the lowly St. Louis Rams, but his passer rating was under 50 in three of the next four games.
"My ankle wasn't nearly where it should have been," Orton said. "I was hobbling around, and my entire leg wasn't healthy. That's just how it goes. It's a tough game."
So rather than be offended by Angelo's tough love, Orton has taken Angelo's comment in the spirit in which it was intended.
"It's the most important position," Orton said. "You've got to get it right, and he's got to know it's right. I think that I'm that guy. I feel like, with my work and my play, I'm just going to make him believe that it's right as well and end up being the guy here for a long time."
So, Orton was asked, is it fair to say that this is your football team?
"Until I'm told differently," he said, "that's how I go about it."