For­mer UConn, NFL QB Orlovsky re­tires

UConn, Shel­ton star ends 12-year ca­reer in NFL

The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT) - - FRONT PAGE - By Jim Fuller

When Dan Orlovsky met with the Con­necti­cut me­dia in the spring, the UConn foot­ball pro­gram’s ca­reer leader in to­tal of­fense, pass­ing at­tempts, com­ple­tions and yards wasn’t ready to close the door on his play­ing ca­reer.

Orlovsky at­tempted to play his 13th NFL sea­son when he com­peted for a backup spot with the Los Angeles Rams but he was cut late in train­ing camp. On Wednesday, the 34-yearold Orlovsky an­nounced his re­tire­ment from foot­ball in a post on sportsspec­ ti­tled, “It’s Time.”

After quar­ter­back­ing Shel­ton High School to the pro­gram’s first state ti­tle in 12 sea­sons as a se­nior, Orlovsky ar­rived at UConn early in the Huskies’ tran­si­tion from Foot­ball Cham­pi­onship Sub­di­vi­sion to the Foot­ball Bowl Sub­di­vi­sion level. Going from play­ing New Hamp­shire, Maine and North­east­ern on an an­nual ba­sis, the Huskies would now be meet­ing West Vir­ginia, Louisville and South Florida. Orlovsky, who passed on schol­ar­ship of­fers from es­tab­lished FBS pro­grams, quar­ter­backed the Huskies to their first two bowl ap­pear­ances, first bowl vic­tory and first win over an FBS ranked op­po­nent.

He was taken in the fifth round of the 2005 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions. He played for the Lions from 2005-08 and re­turned for the 2014-16 sea­sons. In be­tween there were stops in Hous­ton, Indianapolis and Tampa Bay. His fi­nal NFL to­tals are 3,132 pass­ing

yards while com­pet­ing 58.2 per­cent of his passes with 15 touch­down passes and 13 in­ter­cep­tions.

“The game that has brought me some of my great­est friends.

“The game that forced me to prove my­self to my­self ev­ery sin­gle day.

“That game for me as a player, is now done.”

That is how Orlovsky an­nounced his re­tire­ment.

Be­fore head­ing to camp with the Rams, he ful­filled a prom­ise he made to UConn coach Randy Ed­sall by re­turn­ing to cam­pus and earn­ing his de­gree. It gave him a chance to work with the 2017 Huskies as a vol­un­teer dur­ing spring prac­tice.

“I think as I’ve got­ten older, I’ve come to ap­pre­ci­ate it more, re­al­ize the mag­ni­tude of it and how cool it was,” Orlovsky said of his time at UConn dur­ing the spring. “It’s fun to be back among some fa­mil­iar faces, kind of see how the cam­pus has grown and ap­pre­ci­ate what tran­spired.”

Know­ing that his time in the NFL was draw­ing to a close, Orlovsky re­flected on what a run it has been.

“I think there would be a mas­sive sense of pride,” Orlovsky said. “I know how hard it is to play in that league and stay in that league for three, four or five years, and be­ing there for a dozen years is re­ally cool. I’ve been for­tu­nate enough to stay healthy, I was for­tu­nate enough to have a re­ally good foun­da­tion from my dad, a work ethic from my high school coaches, so I think just a sense of pride but I think as I get older, I re­al­ize how awe­some it is. I want to play more now than I did 10 years ago, I want to be part of the group. I was telling the quar­ter­backs that there are 100 of us NFL quar­ter­backs on the planet, that’s re­ally cool. I think I rel­ish it more than I did when I was young. I was dumb, ig­no­rant and kind of just going rather than just re­al­iz­ing how spe­cial it is. I look back at the team­mates I’ve had, the friend­ships that I’ve had, the things I’ve been able to do, it’s been awe­some.”

David J. Phillip / As­so­ci­ated Press

Quar­ter­back Dan Orlovsky, then with the Lions, is sacked by Tim Bul­man of the Tex­ans in a game on Oct. 19, 2008. Orlovsky, a for­mer star at UConn and Shel­ton High, re­tired af­ter a 12-year ca­reer in the NFL.

Michael Con­roy / As­so­ci­ated Press

The Colts’ Dan Orlovsky throws a pass dur­ing a Dec. 22, 2011, game against the Tex­ans. The for­mer Shel­ton High and UConn star re­tired af­ter a 12-year ca­reer in the NFL.

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