Bears miss on Kyle Orton, sign Josh McCown

The Chicago Bears bided their time in a search for a veteran quarterback knowing they would need to wait until Wednesday afternoon for a chance to get their man.

That patience didn’t pay off as Kyle Orton, surprisingly waived on Tuesday by the Denver Broncos, was claimed by the Kansas City Chiefs, who has serious quarterbacking issues while being only two games out of first place in the AFC West.

So, the Bears quickly acted by signing Josh McCown to a one-year contract. McCown is familiar with Mike Martz’s offense, having played for him in 2006 with the Detroit Lions. McCown knew the offense so well, Martz even used him some at wide receiver.

But the Bears hoped to add Orton, who had a 21-12 record as a starter for them from 2005 through 2008. In fact, after Jay Cutler suffered a broken right thumb in Sunday’s win over the San Diego Chargers at Soldier Field, Orton began engineering his exit from Denver with a hope of returning to Chicago. Instead, he’ll go to Kansas City where he could step in as the starter quickly with Matt Cassel out for the remainder of the season.

Without Orton, Caleb Hanie, the Bears’ starter in the absence of Cutler, will not have to look over his shoulder. The Bears said surgery on Cutler’s thumb this afternoon in Vail, Colo., was a success and he will begin rehabilitation in a matter of days. The team hopes he will return to action before the end of the regular season.

Interestingly, the Dallas Cowboys also made a waiver claim for Orton and they would have been awarded him ahead of the Bears, who also placed a claim. That move could have been made to block the team from getting him as the Bears and Cowboys could be competing for a wild-card berth.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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