Hope Dan Orlovsky Feels Connecticut’s Love

by Jacqueline Bennett

I have never met Dan Orlovsky but I watched him play University of Connecticut football. His lanky 6′ 5″ frame and confident throwing arm were always easy to spot from the Rentschler Field stands.

However, before he ever took to the UConn gridiron I was struck by Orlovsky’s loyalty to his home state’s flagship university. Having led Shelton High School to a state championship in his senior year, this blue chip quarterback is said to have passed on offers from Michigan State and Purdue to help “lift the Huskies to contender status” as the team transitioned up in division to the Big East Conference. During his time at Storrs, the same poise and patience Orlovsky showed on the field, he demonstrated in his comments to the media representing the university with dignity. And, he steered UConn to victory in its “inaugural” bowl appearance.

After graduation he formed the Shelton-based Dan Orlovsky Foundation – motto, “Helping Kids Reach Their Goal Line.” Over the past seven years as a professional football player Orlovsky has made a point to return to Connecticut to participate in charitable activities.

Though his time with the pros has been less stellar than his high school and collegiate careers, Orlovsky persevered. In a recent interview with sportscaster Kevin Nathan of NBC Connecticut, Orlovsky was asked where the motivation came from to maintain his solid work ethic despite setbacks and being delegated to back-up positions. I was impressed with 28-year-old Orlovsky’s response which is a good life lesson. Paraphrasing, he said, ‘I would hate for my chance to come and not be ready.’

That chance came last Sunday. Signed by the Indianapolis Colts in July, with Peyton Manning out recovering from a neck injury, Orlovsky made his first start this season as quarterback against -oh, the dilemma – my New England Patriots.

My hope was that even if the Patriots won, Orlovsky would play well for the winless Colts. Things unfolded exactly that way. In the 31-24 win for the Pats, Orlovsky looked comfortable particularly in the fourth quarter when he connected for two touchdowns – very glad for him. I’m certain many folks throughout Connecticut felt the same.

In the post-game news conference once again Orlovsky displayed poise and class as he spoke of enjoying autumn play on New England fields – words that warmed the hearts of native New Englanders.

The Colts are slated to take on the Baltimore Ravens this weekend with Orlovsky scheduled to start as QB. I certainly hope this quality young man knows a lot of us in the Nutmeg State wish him the best.