IRVING, Texas (AP) — Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo will miss at least three weeks of offseason workouts after a procedure to remove a cyst from his back.
The team’s website reported Tuesday, the first day of organized team workouts, that Romo underwent the procedure last month and could return for the mandatory minicamp that starts June 11. He will be ready for training camp in July.
Romo became the highest-paid player in franchise history in March when he signed a six-year, $108 million extension with $55 million guaranteed, more than Super Bowl winner Joe Flacco of Baltimore.
The Dallas Morning News reported that the outpatient procedure was performed before the NFL draft. Romo was restricted to light conditioning work in April but has been cleared to throw.
“If this was the regular season and I had to play next week, I could,” Romo told the newspaper Monday. “That’s why I did it now. This will have no effect on training camp.”
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has said Romo will have an expanded role in the offense, and his quarterback has committed to “Peyton Manning-type time” in trying to turn Dallas into a Super Bowl contender again.
Backup Kyle Orton will take most of the snaps in Romo’s absence. He signed as a free agent last year but played in just one game, a blowout loss to Chicago. The Cowboys also have second-year player Nick Stephens and undrafted rookie Dalton Williams on the roster.
A healthy Romo is a huge factor with coach Jason Garrett’s job on the line in 2013. Garrett is unlikely to return if the Cowboys miss the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season.
The last time Romo missed significant playing time, former coach Wade Phillips was fired and replaced by Garrett in the middle of a 6-10 season in 2010. Romo was out 10 games with a broken collarbone.
Romo played through a broken rib early in the 2011 season and stayed healthy last year. Both seasons ended with losses to NFC East rivals in finales with playoff berths on the line.