Acquiring a quarterback — and maybe two — tops the Buffalo Bills' off-season to-do list after the team was stunned by quarterback Kyle Orton announcing his intention to retire Monday.
“Right now, it's still trying to process it,” general manager Doug Whaley said. “We had no inclination that he was thinking to make that decision at this time or down the road. So it was surprising.”
The 32-year-old caught the team off guard when he informed coach Doug Marrone of his plans shortly before the Bills held their end-of-season meetings.
The revelation came a day after the 10-year journeyman led Buffalo (9-7) to a season-ending 17-9 win at New England.
Despite enjoying its first winning season since a 9-7 finish in 2004, Buffalo missed the playoffs to extend the NFL's longest active postseason drought to 15 years.
“It's just a family decision,” Orton said, in a statement released by the team. “I've decided to get home and be a dad and call it a day.”
Orton declined to speak to reporters while making a brief appearance at his locker, where he picked up a few of his belongings, including a money clip.
By electing to retire, Orton passes up a chance to make a $5.4 million base salary he was due next year after making $2.5 million this season.
“I can't be disappointed with a guy that says his heart's not in it,” Whaley said. “I respect his decision. I respect what he brought to our team this year. And we wish him nothing but the best.”
Steelers' Bell iffy
Pittsburgh may have to start the playoffs without running back Le'Veon Bell, who hyperextended his right knee in the third quarter of Sunday night's win over Cincinnati and did not return. Coach Mike Tomlin said Bell's knee did not sustain any major structural damage, but said it is unclear if the rising second-year back will be available Saturday when the Steelers host Baltimore in a wild-card game.
Eagles' Kelly reacts
Eagles Coach Chip Kelly said he's happy in Philadelphia and "loves" coaching in the NFL, amid intensifying scrutiny of his coaching and personnel decisions, and speculation that he might be weighing a move back to college football. "I don't deal with hypotheticals," he said. "When you get two sources that say I'm going to a school, write the story."
San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers, who reportedly has a bulging disk in his lower back, said he isn't sure if he's going to need surgery. . . . Jacksonville defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during the season finale against Houston. He will have surgery and miss the entire off-season but hopes to return during training camp.