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Broncos QBs Tebow, Orton take field as trade rumors swirl

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Tebow Time is on hold.

The Denver Broncos' new front office has insisted that Kyle Orton is the incumbent starting quarterback even as it put him on the trading block this week.

When new coach John Fox's first training camp opened Thursday, the seventh-year pro quickly showed he's still the team's top quarterback.

"He's under contract with us," Fox said. "I can't speak for the future. If I could predict the future, then I might be at the race track. But at this point, Kyle Orton's on our team. He's under contract, and you watched practice. You saw where he was."

Orton was polished in his reads and precise with his passes while Tim Tebow, not the raw rookie from last year, was still a tad slower in his decisions and delivery while getting just as many snaps.

"We've got to work on some timing with certain things, but for a first day, I thought it was pretty good," Tebow said.

Brady Quinn looked more comfortable than he did in last year's camp, but his throws were equally erratic, and about all that could be said for undrafted college free agent Adam Weber is that he looks shorter than the 6-foot-3 he's listed at on the roster.

"Well, I don't really think it would be fair to give an evaluation after one unpadded practice, but I wouldn't say it's tremendously different than it was six months ago," Fox said of his quarterback competition.

Orton is in the prime of his career, having thrown for nearly 7,500 yards and 41 touchdowns to go with 21 interceptions the last two seasons in Denver, where he's 11-18.

The Broncos, however, need to see what they have in Tebow, an intriguing second-year pro who went 1-2 in the final three games last season while throwing for six scores and running for a half-dozen more.

Beisner: Broncos camp observations

How awkward is it for

Kyle Orton to practice with Tim Tebow when the veteran QB is the subject

of rampant trade rumors? Michelle Beisner asked Orton just that. **More ...**

Orton and Tebow didn't walk together or talk to each other in between drills, but that's nothing new.

Asked if there was any tension between Orton and Tebow, Quinn snapped: "Look, if you're going to ask questions about football, ask questions about football. I'm not here to talk about anyone's relationship status. Save that for Twitter or Facebook or some message board."

Orton and Tebow both denied this was an awkward arrangement, even if it looked that way from the outside.

"We're pros, and I've been in this thing for seven years now, and it's pretty much the same every year," Orton said. "So there's no awkwardness about it, and we just go out and compete and, like I said, I'm excited to go out and play my best football, and that's the only thing I'm worried about."

"We're teammates, and we get along," Tebow said. "We come out here and compete, and none of us can control anything else. So, we don't really worry about it."

Orton said he was glad to be back with the Broncos and his preference was "100 percent" to stay in Denver.

Tebow said the last thing he wanted was to be anointed the starter because Orton is traded.

"If anything, I kind of like that competition," Tebow said. "You want to compete to be the best and have to earn your job, whatever that is, or earn your role, whatever that is. You don't want anything to be handed to you, and I think that's the great thing about these coaches is nothing's going to be handed out."

Orton disputed the notion that he wants out of town because he believes Tebow's promotion is a foregone conclusion.

"That's not the sense that I get," Orton insisted. "I'm out there competing and I like my chances if that's my case."

There have been times this week when a trade to the Miami Dolphins appeared imminent, but the Broncos don't appear to be in any hurry to deal Orton, who is due $8.829 million this year, almost all of which is guaranteed.

"We've said all along that Kyle was the starter," football chief John Elway said on his radio show on KCUV-FM in Denver. "... And the bottom line is Kyle's been successful. Even though we haven't won a lot of football games the last couple of years, he's had very good numbers."

Elway said the price would have to be right.

"Kyle Orton is a good football player. So, I think that if things don't come about where the value's there, then we're going to throw the ball out there and compete," Elway said.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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