Tony Romo on potentially returning to the NFL: ‘Never say never’

The Dallas Cowboys officially granted Tony Romo his requested release on Tuesday, rescinding their rights to him. Romo, of course, is retiring from the NFL as a result, opting to pursue a career in broadcasting.

Romo is officially joining the team at CBS, calling games next to Jim Nantz – a role previously held by Phil Simms. He shared a photo of his new “uniform” on Tuesday, which sent Twitter into a frenzy.

He spoke on his decision to leave the NFL during a conference call, saying there was “absolutely interest” from other teams. However, despite that fact, he felt his best move was to go into broadcasting.

“There were many reasons I felt this was the right decision,” he said. “It had nothing to do with the Texans and everything to do with CBS. Being able to work alongside Jim Nantz – knowing what I wanted to do for the next 15, 20, 30 years. It was a very difficult decision. I went back and forth a number of times.”

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Romo cited his family as being one of the many reasons he felt the transition to broadcasting would be a good one, saying he’ll now be able to spend more time with his loved ones.

“Family’s as important to me as anything,” he added.

One of the obvious potential suitors for Romo was Houston. The Texans needed a quarterback after trading Brock Osweiler to the Browns, and still do. Romo admitted the Texans were among other unnamed teams that expressed interest in him, but wouldn’t say which teams those were.

He did say that the Texans were at the top of his list of teams.

Aug 28, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) on the sidelines during the game against the Denver Broncos at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

“Obviously, Houston was at the top of the list of teams. … There was absolutely interest [from teams]. I don’t want to get into great detail.”

Romo, 37, was obviously asked about whether he would consider leaving the broadcast booth to return to the NFL if the right situation presented itself. Not surprisingly, he wouldn’t say 100 percent that he’ll never consider it, but it certainly sounds like he’s content with his new gig.

“I don’t envision coming out. Absolutely not,” he said. “I’m sure I will [get calls from teams]. But there’s no part of me that wants to play.”

He did say that we should “never say never” and that he’s “99 percent” retired, but based on his comments, it doesn’t seem like he’ll be coming out of retirement.

Jan 1, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) during a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. The Philadelphia Eagles won 27-13. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Hopefully it won’t be a Brett Favre-type situation where the question about whether he’ll return to the NFL comes up time and time again.

“I understand that I can still play the game of football. I don’t know that the competitive fire is ever going to go away,” he said. “As we learned with Brett Favre, that shelf life can take on a life of its own.”

Health, as well as his family, obviously played a role in his decision to step away from the game. He missed 15 games in 2016 and another 12 in 2015 as a result of injuries, so his health was clearly a question going forward.

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What’s interesting is the fact that Romo admitted he’s healthier than he’s probably ever been.

“Yeah health played a role. But I can play football. Health-wise, it’s the healthiest I’ve been in three to four years. The weird thing is I’d probably be playing this year healthier than I was in ’14.”

With Prescott firmly entrenched as the starter, and Romo being a fragile, yet extremely talented quarterback, the Cowboys were forced to move on from their franchise guy. They had no choice but to release him and allow him to move onto the next step in his career.


Jerry Jones made it clear he wanted to “do right” by Romo and put him in the best position to succeed, but many questioned whether that was actually happening as the Cowboys sat idle, holding onto Romo.

According to Tony, though, there was nothing wrong with the way Jones handled the entire situation.

“Jerry was amazing. I know sometimes it didn’t look like it from the outside. He really was in my corner,” he said. “The thing he said publicly about doing me right. He really did. I never had a better boss, owner, mentor, than Jerry Jones.”

Going from being an NFL quarterback to the broadcast booth in a matter of a few months isn’t something that’s done often, and it’s not easy. Romo admitted that wholeheartedly, but he promised to work “20 hours a day” improving his craft.

He compared the transition to being an undrafted rookie in the NFL.

“It reminds me really of my rookie year. Really, you don’t know anything,” he said. “I’m going from being the old guy to being the young guy.”