When Jon Kitna was with the Cowboys for the last three years, he always embraced his role on the team, whatever it was going to be, but never wanted anyone to think he was content as a backup.
Every competitor wants to be on the field, and the Cowboys wouldn't want a backup to Tony Romo who had no desire to start. It's interesting, then, that they went all-in to sign Kyle Orton, who chose the Cowboys in March despite never visiting any other clubs.
The Cowboys gave Orton a very nice contract, three years and $10.5 million, and he's comfortable in Dallas, reunited with his former Chicago quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson. Yet Orton, 29, probably could've at least competed to start elsewhere in this league.
"I hope so," Orton said. "I feel like I've played good ball in this league, I feel I've got a lot of good ball left in me. I don't see this as committing myself to be the backup. I'm just committing myself to be a part of the team."
Orton said he thought a lot about where he wanted to play, and Dallas was the best fit. While being the No. 2 guy isn't ideal, it didn't change his desire to play for the Cowboys, and like Kitna he wants to support Romo as best he can.
"Tony's the man, you know? There ain't no doubt about it," Orton said. "He's played great football. He's a great quarterback. So I'm excited. It's really the first time I've been around another veteran in my career. I've done a lot of learning with young guys in the room. I can still learn a lot about football, and hopefully I can help him out in any way I can."
The Cowboys definitely weren't trying to create any kind of quarterback controversy in signing Orton, but they aren't concerned he lacks competitive fire, either.
"He's certainly someone who is capable of playing and being a starter in this league, but this is a good place for a quarterback to play," head coach Jason Garrett said. "Our quarterbacks have played well here - he certainly understands that. He's a team guy. He's started a lot of games in this league; he's been a starter, he's been a guy who's started games when he was a backup - he's handled that situation well - and he's been a backup.
"We just felt like it was a really good acquisition for us, and everything we've seen over the course of the first nine OTAs makes us excited."