ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Buffalo Bills will need to return to E.J. Manuel next season — or find a new option at quarterback — because veteran journeyman Kyle Orton announced his retirement from the NFL on Monday.
By throwing for 176 yards in the Bills 17-9 victory over New England, Orton went over the 3,000 yard mark for the third time in his career.
The Bills signed Orton to an $11 million contract in late-August, immediately sparking talk that first-round pick E.J. Manuel would be given a short leash this season. Orton first took the field in week 5 against the Lions, leading the Bills to a 17-14 win in Detroit.
However, Orton struggled down the stretch, scoring just one touchdown in two critical losses to Kansas City and Miami. The Bills missed the playoffs for the 15th straight year, but E.J. Manuel did not see the playing field again once Orton took over.
“I mean that’s his choice. Obviously, he was a guy who did some things for us this year – stepped in and played a major role in what we were able to accomplish. We wish him well,” said running back Fred Jackson in reaction to Orton’s news.
Prior to the announcement, E.J. Manuel told reporters he hoped to earn the starting role once again.
“Just be ready to compete. I’m not sure how it’s going to play out as far as the offseason, but whichever quarterbacks they bring in or whichever quarterbacks they have here, just be ready to compete and try to make this team better,” Manuel said.