When Tony Romo walked away from football for a career in football broadcasting, some wondered whether he’d return. While he hasn’t used the term “retirement” (he says it has 90 different meanings although in truth it has like two), his placement in a plum assignment at CBS makes a decision to abandon a gig he’d likely never get again highly unlikely, at best.
Still, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones isn’t ready to rule out a return from Romo. Via the team’s official website, Jones said Wednesday that the organization has “no succinct plans” to honor Romo publicly at the current time.
“Is the idea that recognizing him for what he’s done for the Cowboys likely? Yes,” Jones said. “I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves at all on what we might do. At this juncture there has been, just by the nature of how Tony’s career has evolved at this point over the past year, it’s had a lot of recognition. We will look to the future on timing as to when we might have some more recognition.”
So why has Jones publicly honored linebacker DeMarcus Ware, who recently signed a ceremonial contract and retired as a Cowboys?
“DeMarcus retired and Tony hasn’t,” Jones said.
Those five words say plenty. Although Romo has indeed not used the word “retire,” Ware is arguably more likely to make a late-season cameo than Romo, primarily since Ware wouldn’t be giving up the No. 1 chair at CBS to do it. It would be a shock if Romo plays again — unless he does indeed “stink” as a game analyst and decides to abandon the gig as quickly as Joe Montana did.
Frankly, it feels like Jones is trying not to jinx himself by treating Romo as retired while there’s still a chance he could come back. Jones undoubtedly doesn’t want Romo to play for someone else, and Jones undoubtedly had at least a mild hand in engineering CBS’s offer to Romo that he couldn’t refuse.
So why tempt fate by declaring Romo to be retired when Jones realizes that it took one of the biggest jobs in sports broadcasting to get Romo to choose not to play for the Texans or the Broncos? It’s far better to assume he’ll be back and have him never return than to tell the world Romo is done, only to see him eventually hoist a Lombardi Trophy with a team not named the Cowboys.