Orton Takes Unnecessary Shots

There are times when a seemingly harmless matter can turn into a story because someone decides to make it one. Thus is the case with Kyle Orton's bye week photo shoot.

There are photos circling on the internet of Orton in an Iowa City bar with a bottle of Jack Daniel's whiskey in hand with his chin and shirt sopping wet. He even goes so far as to flip the middle finger in one of the photos.

"Obviously, I regret the pictures came out," Orton said on a conference call Wednesday. "It's a bye week and I was trying to get away with some friends I hadn't seen in a while back home [in Iowa]. You know, I'm a 22-year-old kid trying to have fun."

Although Orton had to play the apologetic angle for public relations reasons, the team was on their bye week. How many can say they weren't doing the same at his age and still went onto become responsible adults.

This is a case of the Cleveland media trying to make something of this going into the game on Sunday. Both teams are coming off a bye and it's been a relatively slow news week.

There has even been a local talk show host noted for enjoying the Chicago nightlife that took a shot at Orton.

Granted professional athletes are held to a different standard. However, Orton was not out the night before a game and did nothing illegal.

"He didn't get picked up for DWI," defended Bears coach Lovie Smith. "He didn't break any laws. I don't think any damage was done. We realize the image that we would like our players to have, but the truth of the matter is guys go out and have a good time when there's nothing else going on in an open week."

The Bears have had problems with players in the past being arrested for drunken driving. Bryan Robinson was suspended for a game in 2002 following such a charge.

Veterans can be scene in local bars on occasion during training camp and still practice the next day.

Ultimately Orton will be judged by his performance on the field. It was a disaster against the Bengals, as he threw five interceptions. In Week 2 he had no turnovers and a 103.3 passer rating.

Unpredictability is something that's expected from a rookie, especially one starting at quarterback. The same will not be said of Orton's actions away from the field. He was acting like a normal 22-year-old and there's nothing wrong with that.


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