ALLEN PARK, Mich. – Dan Orlovsky has one of the most memorable plays – in a bad way – in Detroit Lions history. Despite that, the quarterback had a 12-year NFL career, spanning five teams and 12 starts.
And on Wednesday, the 34-year-old decided this would be it. Orlovsky announced his retirement in a first-person story on Sports Spectrum, saying “it’s time for my journey as a football player to come to an end.”
Orlovsky was drafted in the fifth round of the 2005 draft by the Lions out of Connecticut, where he was one of the best quarterbacks in school history. He played in 26 games in his career with a 2-10 record as a starter. He completed 298 of 512 passes for 3,132 yards, 15 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
He last played in a game in Week 8 of 2015 in London for the Lions against the Chiefs, completing 1 of 2 passes. The Lions moved on from Orlovsky as their backup quarterback following the 2016 season and he signed with the Los Angeles Rams for this year’s training camp.
Orlovsky was cut during camp and has not been with a team in the regular season for the first time in his career.
He’s best known for a play during Detroit’s winless 2008 season, where he ran out of the end zone while being chased by Jared Allen for a safety. It’s a play considered one of the worst in Lions history and one that has followed him since. It’s still replayed from time to time on television when discussing the Lions.
And Orlovsky, to his credit, has embraced the mistake of a play he made in his youth. When he re-signed with the Lions before the 2014 season, Orlovsky spoke openly about wanting to help alter the view of him in the city.
“I guess, in the fact that there’s not much I can say to unmask the things that happened or erase those things. I’ve always, in my personal aspect of it, I knew I played well. We were just not a good football team,” Orlovsky said after signing in 2014. “Did I have a part of that? Sure. I wish I played better in certain spaces. But I knew I played well and I kind of look at it like this. It’s hard to play in this league for four years. It’s really hard to play in it for 10 years.
“My personal look, my goal. is just to come in and do my job and help my team. But I get the fears maybe with obviously fans and whatnot. But the organization knows what they’re doing and I know I’m a good player and I certainly hope to be a part of changing some of that past, whether that’s directly or indirectly.”
He did, as the Lions made the playoffs in two of three seasons with Orlovsky as the backup to Matthew Stafford. He served as an important sounding board for Stafford over that time – and assisted in his development.
Orlovsky said in his retirement post he did not know what was next, but he has attended the league’s broadcast boot camp in the past and did some pregame show work for UConn football broadcasts in years past.