Kyle Orton, the Buffalo Bills' starting quarterback for the last 12 games in the 2014 season, surprised the team this morning by announcing his retirement after 10 seasons in the NFL.
The news came as the players were cleaning out their lockers for the offseason, the day after their 17-9 season-ending victory against the New England Patriots.
Veteran running back Fred Jackson said he wasn't aware of the announcement until reporters informed him of it as he was cleaning out his locker.
"That's his choice," Jackson said. "Obviously, he was a guy that did some things for us this year, stepped in and played a major role in what we were able to accomplish. But we wish him well. Now, we have to see how EJ" Manuel "responds, see what the next step is with the front office and things like that and kind of figure out what's going to go down."
Late last August, Orton, who had been with the Dallas Cowboys in 2013, came out of what was described as a brief retirement to sign a one-year contract with the Bills worth about $5 million.
Although his future with Buffalo was uncertain, it was widely presumed the 32-year-old Orton would return to compete in training camp with Manuel and perhaps another quarterback the Bills would acquire in the offseason for the starting job.
Orton replaced Manuel, the Bills' first-round draft pick in 2013, after the fourth game of the season. In 12 games, he completed 287 of 447 passes for 3,018 yards and 18 touchdowns while throwing 10 interceptions.
"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," Orton said in a statement released by the Bills.
Reaction from Bills coach Doug Marrone and additional information on Orton will be posted later in the day.