Broncos' Orton pushed to be waived after hearing of Cutler injury

DENVER — Quarterback Kyle Orton and his agent pushed for his release from the Denver Broncos after learning Jay Cutler required surgery on a broken thumb and would miss six to eight weeks for the Chicago Bears, the Denver Post reported.

The Broncos waived their former starter Tuesday, more than a month after replacing him with Tim Tebow.

"This was the right decision for our football team," Broncos coach John Fox said in a statement. "We feel good about our quarterback group, and this gives Kyle an opportunity to help another team and showcase his talents."

The announcement fueled immediate speculation that the Bears or Houston Texans could pursue Orton. Whichever team claims him would have to pay the pro-rated portion of his $8.8 million salary this season, which would be about $2.58 million.

The 7-3 Bears lost Cutler on Sunday, while the Texans, who are atop the AFC South at 7-3, lost quarterback Matt Schaub for the season with a foot injury.

The Kansas City Chiefs could also be a potential suitor with quarterback Matt Cassel sidelined for the season.

A source told the Chicago Tribune that the Bears, who are 30th in the waiver order, would put in a claim for Orton.

The 29-year-old veteran has refrained from commenting on the situation.

Orton, who was the subject of trade rumors over the summer, was replaced by Tebow late in the Week 5 loss to San Diego.

The Broncos have since reeled off wins in four of five games, with Tebow leading a run-heavy offense and engineering late comeback wins over the Dolphins and Jets.

Orton has started a total of 48 games over the past four seasons with the Bears and Broncos.

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