Report: Kyle Orton no-show to start Cowboys offseason program

Kyle Orton and Tony Romo talk during minicamp last June. (USATSI)
Kyle Orton and Tony Romo talk during minicamp last June. (USATSI)

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One of the biggest offseason storylines for the Cowboys concerned franchise quarterback Tony Romo and his recovery from December back surgery. But on the first day of the team's offseason program, it was the backup quarterback making headlines.

Kyle Orton wasn't at Valley Ranch for the start of voluntary workouts, according to the Forth Worth Star-Telegram. He had been weighing retirement, but Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said last month, after speaking with Orton's agent, that the team expected Orton to return.

If Orton does call it a career, he would have to repay the Cowboys $3 million of his $5 million signing bonus, and he would forgo an addition $3.25 million in salary in 2014.

Put in starker terms: Brandon Weeden is now a play away from becoming the Cowboys' starter.

(While owner and general manager Jerry Jones has made it clear that the team's immediate future is with Romo, would anybody be surprised if Dallas ended up taking Johnny Manziel in next month's NFL Draft?)

For now, the hope is that Orton, 31, returns. He played in three games last season (one start), and completed 65 percent of his throws for 398 yards, with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. His best season came with the Broncos in 2009, when he threw for 3,802 yards with 21 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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