Somber Romo: Prescott has earned right to be Cow­boys QB

Doesn’t an­swer ques­tions, reads state­ment

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Schuyler Dixon

FRISCO, TEXAS » Tony Romo stopped a re­porter in the mid­dle of what ap­peared to be the first ques­tion in his first meet­ing with the me­dia since Au­gust.

The Dal­las quar­ter­back brought a state­ment, and he wasn’t go­ing to an­swer any ques­tions Tues­day.

The 36-year-old com­ing off his fourth back in­jury in less than four years con­ceded the start­ing job to Dak Prescott, who has led the Cow­boys (8-1) to a fran­chise sea­son record-ty­ing eight straight wins and the best record in the NFL.

And a somber Romo didn’t hide his dis­ap­point­ment while read­ing the fiveminute state­ment.

“He’s earned the right to be our quar­ter­back,” Romo said of the 23-yearold rookie. “As hard as that is for me to say, he’s earned that right. He’s guided our team to an 8-1 record and that’s hard to do.”

Romo, who broke a bone in his back in a pre­sea­son game, is ex­pected to be Prescott’s backup Sun­day at home against Bal­ti­more (5-4). It should be the first time Romo is ac­tive since Thanks­giv­ing last year, and the first time in 10 years he isn’t the Dal­las starter.

“If you think for a sec­ond that I don’t want to be out there, then you prob­a­bly never felt the pure ec­stasy of com­pet­ing and win­ning,” Romo said. “That hasn’t left me. In fact, it may burn now more than ever.”

Romo was sur­pris­ingly re­flec­tive as well, re­call­ing the early days of his ca­reer when he was an un­her­alded free agent fight­ing to stay on the ros­ter. Now he’s the fran­chise leader in pass­ing yards and touch­downs, ahead of Su­per Bowl win­ners Roger Staubach and Troy Aik­man.

But he’s also in the same place Drew Bled­soe was in 2006 when Romo re­placed an in­ef­fec­tive Bled­soe at half­time of a loss to the New York Giants six games into the sea­son and never gave up the start­ing job.

“I re­mem­ber the feel­ing like it was yes­ter­day,” Romo said. “It re­ally is an in­cred­i­ble time in your life. And if I re­mem­ber one thing from back then, it’s the peo­ple that helped me along when I was young. And if I can be that to Dak, I tried to be and I will be go­ing for­ward.”

Romo signed the first $100 mil­lion con­tract in fran­chise his­tory in 2013 and counts $20.8 mil­lion against the salary cap this sea­son. The cap hit next year is nearly $25 mil­lion, but the Cow­boys can re­duce it by roughly $5 mil­lion if they re­lease him.

The mood was more jovial ear­lier in the day when owner and gen­eral man­ager Jerry Jones made one of his weekly ra­dio ap­pear­ances.

“I paid a lot of money for a backup quar­ter­back as you well know,” Jones said, re­fer­ring to Kyle Or­ton’s $3 mil­lion salary as Romo’s backup sev­eral years ago. “And this, by the way, is go­ing to be the record for hav­ing paid this for a backup quar­ter­back.”

The Cow­boys went 1-11 in the 12 games Romo missed last sea­son with a twice-bro­ken left col­lar­bone. When he im­me­di­ately grabbed his back af­ter get­ting tack­led awk­wardly from be­hind in the pre­sea­son against Seattle, Dal­las’ hopes seemed doomed again.

MICHAEL AINSWORTH — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILE

Tony Romo is run­ning the scout team in prac­tice even though Dal­las’ start­ing quar­ter­back the past 10 years looks ready to re­turn from a back in­jury.

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