x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Season is finally at an end for Tony Romo

The Cowboys, out of the play-off picture, tell their quarterback to take it easy and turn to Jon Kitna.

Tony Romo lies on the field after suffering the injury against the Giants in October that was to end his season.
Tony Romo lies on the field after suffering the injury against the Giants in October that was to end his season.

With time running out on this season, the Dallas Cowboys told Tony Romo, their injured quarterback, that he might as well rest up for next season and come back fully refreshed.

Romo went on injured reserve on Tuesday, eliminating any chance of him playing on Saturday night at the Arizona Cardinals or in the Cowboys' season finale at the Philadelphia Eagles.

He has been out since breaking his left collarbone in late October.

Jason Garrett, the Dallas interim coach, said that he and his coaching staff had weighed up bringing Romo back, but felt there was little to gain from it.

"When you just start doing the math on it and say, 'Where is he with this injury? Where is he physically functioning? Where is he being able to take a hit? And then, how much practice time you need to have any player be ready to play in a game?" he said.

"We just felt when we factored all those things together, it just made sense to make this move."

It seemed silly for the Cowboys to take any chances since they cannot make the play-offs and are guaranteed a losing record, though they kept the option open by carrying Romo on the active roster for the last eight weeks.

Garrett said having this weekend as a target for a return helped Romo with his recovery.

On Sunday, Jerry Jones, the Cowboys' owner, said Romo was "still having sensitivity there" and not ready to play. Garrett indicated Romo would try to practice on Tuesday, but the move was announced before the club even hit the field.

Jon Kitna will start the final two games. Garrett said he would not use second-year backup Stephen McGee unless Kitna is hurt.

Kitna is 4-4 since taking over for Romo, including 4-2 since Garrett replaced fired coach Wade Phillips.

Kitna's statistics are quite similar to Romo's this season.

"Our team has certainly responded to him," Garrett said. "He's a very driven guy. He loves to play football. He's very competitive. He'll look at the positive things and build on them and try to correct some of the things he doesn't like.

"It's an ongoing process. He embraces it every day."

There is no threat of a quarterback controversy because Kitna will be 39 next season and Romo remains the face of the franchise. Kitna knows the drill.

"I signed a contract to be the backup to Tony and that's my job," he said.

"I'm supposed to play as well as I can if I get a chance to play. We've been consistent the last six weeks. That's what you want."

Kitna didn't take a single snap last season and lost all four games he started for Detroit the previous season.

"So while this has been hailed as a career revival, Kitna does not see it that way," he said.

"Honestly, it's not that satisfying for me because I knew that this was who I was."

"What's exciting to me is that I got to be in a place that the guys around me make my job very easy."

Romo completed 69 per cent of his passes (148 of 213) for 1,605 yards with 11 touchdowns. His quarterback rating of 94.9 was a shade below his career average.

His seven interceptions in six games was a big step back after having nine in a full season last year.

"I think if you look at the body of work, him individually and how our offence functioned, there were a lot of good things but there were obviously some areas to improve upon," Garrett said.

Since being injured, Romo has spent every game on the sideline, wearing a headset and consulting with Kitna. He will continue doing that. "He's played in this offence more than anybody has, so he has a real understanding of what we're trying to get accomplished," Garrett said.

"He and Jon have a really great relationship ... There are some productive things that go on during the game and Tony is a big part of that."

The Cowboys promoted Teddy Williams from the practice squad to take Romo's place.

Williams has not played organised football since he was a senior in high school. A gruesome ankle injury scared off recruiters, so he turned to track and became an All-America sprinter while at Texas-San Antonio.

But he never gave up on playing football and signed with the Cowboys during training camp in San Antonio.

He played cornerback from the summer until last week, when he was switched to receiver because of a series of injuries. While he is a long way from learning his new duties, his speed could make him a threat as a returner. Garrett said it remains to be determined whether Williams will be active against the Cardinals.

"My whole thing is that I just want to be on the field and play," Williams said.