'I Regret the Pictures Came Out,' Orton Says Of Jack Daniel's, Bird-Flipping Incident in Iowa City Bar. 'I'm a 22-Year-Old Kid Trying to Have Fun'
Kyle Orton says he has regrets.
Evidently not because he was holding a bottle of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey and flipping the bird in an Iowa City bar.
But because of the pictures.
Orton, the product of Altoona, Ia., and Purdue University, was asked by Cleveland reporters about his shenanigans during the Chicago Bears' bye week.
Orton and the Bears, who haven't played since Sept. 25, take a 1-2 NFL record into a game Sunday against the Browns at Cleveland.
Tony Grossi of the Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote in today's editions that, "There are some unflattering photographs of Orton circulating on the Internet.
"In one, he holds a bottle of Jack Daniel's whiskey and his chin and T-shirt are sopping wet. In the other, he flashes the middle finger of his left hand to the camera.
"They were taken at a bar in Iowa City during the team's recent bye weekend.
"'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.'
"'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.'
"All true. But the youthful images of Orton having a good time underscore the change of pace the Browns' defense makes Sunday in Cleveland Browns Stadium.
"Their last two games they have defended Brett Favre and Peyton Manning--legendary dedicated quarterbacks who will someday be Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees. The Browns intercepted Favre twice and beat his Packers in Green Bay, and they held Manning to one touchdown in a close loss in Indianapolis.
"Now here comes Orton, a fourth-round rookie from Purdue, trying to keep the Browns winless at home....."
ORTON 'WANTED TO RELIVE MEMORIES OF IOWA CITY HE NEVER HAD'
Of the Orton photos, which I published earlier this week after they were carried by www.deadspin.com, reader Mark Robinson writes in an e-mail to me:
"Man, Ohhhhh, mannn.....
"Here are my top 10 reasons why Kyle Orton spent his weekend in Iowa City:
"10. Headed east out of Chicago thinking he grew up in Altoona, Pa. Turned around in Cleveland. Ran out of gas in Iowa City.
"9. Thought West Lafayette, Ind., was in a dry county.
"8. Wanted to relive memories of Iowa City that he never had.
"7. He hoped he could get one of those Iowa City PAULA citations by leaving his ID in Chicago. [Possession of Alcohol Under the Legal Age]
"6. Thought that giving the finger and dowsing himself in Jack Daniel's would be a good disguise.
"5. Playing for the Bears gave him inspiration to try his hand at bartending.
"4. Celebrated the fact that he never had to play under Dave Wannstedt.
"3. Mike Ditka is doing a reality series.
"2. He plays for da Bears.
"1. Realized he could never slice up the Patriots like former Boilermaker Drew Brees did on Sunday.
"Thanks for the pics, Ron. That is just too bad.
[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: And thanks to you, Mark, for the great list. Orton is the talk of the Internet after the show he put on in Iowa City. Obviously, he staged a much different performance in the bar than at Kinnick Stadium, where he never did anything noteworthy as a Boilermaker. But I'd like everyone to know that the Bears have now become my favorite NFL team, and Orton is certainly my favorite quarterback. The Bears are so bad and they play in such a lousy division that they need all the love they can get].
Vol. 4, No. 390
Oct. 6, 2005