Tony Romo has chosen retirement.
Romo will work for CBS this season as an analyst alongside Jim Nantz on game broadcasts, the network confirmed Tuesday. He replaces Phil Simms as the lead game broadcast analyst for CBS.
“I’m really excited about the challenge ahead,” Romo said in a conference call. “I’m excited. It’s going to be a great challenge for me … I hope that I’m able to make the CBS family proud with their decision.”
Romo’s retirement after 14 NFL seasons was first reported by ESPN.
In releasing Romo, the Cowboys are relinquishing their rights to the quarterback by not placing him on the reserve/retired list.
“We wish Tony and his family nothing but the best,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said in a statement. “As an organization, we did what he asked us to do in terms of his release, and we wanted to do what was ultimately in his best interest and in the best interest of his family.
“Tony has been a wonderful representative of the Cowboys organization for 14 years, and he left everything he had on the field,” Jones continued. “He will leave us with many great memories and a legacy of being, truly, one of the greatest players in Cowboys history. We are thrilled for him and his family that he will be able to continue working as a professional in the game he so dearly loves.”
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett echoed Jones’ sentiments, complementing Romo for competing “to the end in everything that he does.”
“That relentless spirit that Tony plays with is contagious,” Garrett said in a statement. “He makes his teammates better. He makes his coaches better. He makes his team better. He has grown so much as a player and as a person over the course of his career and has made a significant impact on the lives of so many. I consider myself fortunate to be at the top of that list. It has been one of the great privileges of my life to work with Tony Romo, one of the greatest players in Dallas Cowboys history.”
Romo’s decision comes amid a tumultuous period in his career both emotionally and health-wise. Romo, 36, appeared in just five games over the past two seasons due to a twice-broken collarbone and broken back. In both cases, he still managed to claw his way onto the field for at least one appearance. Rapoport reported that injury concerns — specifically the durability of his back — were a factor in Romo’s choice to step away.
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So goes the latest salvo in this Romo affair. Initially thought to be a tidy release and signing, the saga has turned into a long and arduous game of poker with Jones holding the strongest hand. This past week at the Annual League Meeting, Jones told reporters that there is no imminent deadline to resolve the Romo issue.
Perhaps this is the best way for Jones to have his cake and eat it too. Amid some in-house turmoil — NFL Network’s Jane Slater noted that Romo has distanced himself from the pro-Dak Prescott teammates and coaches — this is the owner’s way of letting Romo know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel whenever his new bosses step up.
The question now becomes when and how much. The Texans already paid the Browns a second-round pick just to take Brock Osweiler off their hands. On the surface, they seem comfortable moving forward with Tom Savage as their starter, though this team would take on an entirely different life with a four-time Pro Bowler under center. The near futures of dynamic receivers like Will Fuller and DeAndre Hopkins would be in very capable hands, and coach Bill O’Brien could finally rid himself of the replacement-level quarterback carousel that has played out over the last four seasons.
Still, could another unexpected team enter the fray?
Either way, Jones already has lost the benefit of the doubt. He could have simply moved on from Romo and done right by his star quarterback just as promised. Now, he embarks on a game of chicken with no real winner.