On taking his preseason promotion to starting quarterback in stride
This is a situation I've prepared for my entire life. I thought I had the talent to play at this level, and I feel like I earned the job. I figured I would make the most of whatever opportunity was given to me, and that's what I'm doing.
On the hardest part about being a rookie starter
We're not trying to rebuild here. It's not all about my progress and making things easy on me. I have to learn on the fly, and I can't make mistakes that will hurt the team.
On his five interceptions versus Cincinnati on Sept. 25
I was over it the next day. I don't let that stuff bother me much. One game, then on to the next.
On when he earned the team's trust
After our first regular-season game [a 9-7 loss to Washington]. I stood in the pocket, and I was poised. I made some plays for them.
On the photos of him partying at a bar during the Bears' bye week that wound up on the Internet
It doesn't bother me. I pick and choose times to have fun. I don't do it when it will affect my job. That's my personality, I go out and have fun. If someone puts it on the Internet, so be it. It doesn't affect me or bother my family.
On wearing number 18 to honor Nebraska QB Brook Berringer, who died in a 1996 plane crash
He signed an autograph for me when I was in seventh grade. I also liked how he handled himself as a player. He played well when they won the national title [in 1994], and then Tommie Frazier came back and got the job back. Brook could've tanked, but he showed what he was made of as a backup. Ever since then I've worn 18. I met Brook's mother last year. She saw me mention Brook in an interview, and she tracked me down. It was cool. I thought we would talk only for 10 minutes, but we spent a lot of time talking about him. It wasn't even about football. It was about the kind of guy he was.
On being a fourth-round pick even after throwing 31 TDs as a senior at Purdue
I was definitely disappointed when I sat through the first day and nobody picked me. I really thought I'd go higher. But the next day when I heard I was going close to home, in Chicago, I got excited. I just used it all as motivation.
On a post-NFL career in politics
I'll probably go back to my home state [Iowa] and do something in that field. My father's career was in politics, so that has influenced me. [Byron Orton was in Iowa government for 30 years, retiring as labor commissioner last April.] I majored in history in college, and I definitely want to go to law school when I'm done playing.
ORTON HAS LED CHICAGO (5-3) TO FOUR STRAIGHT WINS. THE BEARS HOST THE 49ERS THIS SUNDAY.
Photograph by Al Tielemans