The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

July 30, 2013

Romo working way back, even in ‘light’ practice

OXNARD, Calif. — Tony Romo didn’t look like somebody taking the day off.

The Dallas Cowboys quarterback was going through regular work Tuesday after coach Jason Garrett said he would practice “very lightly” at most on the 10th day of training camp.

Romo hasn’t shown any signs of trouble in camp after having a cyst removed from his back in April.

But the procedure led to a mostly idle offseason for his arm and legs, and some intriguing issues the first week of camp.

Garrett hasn’t told reporters whether Romo will play in the preseason opener after suggesting to the team’s flagship radio station that he would rest. And there are questions about how far behind he was physically when he came to California.

“I think more than anything just getting back into it, getting the body to start, stop, go, quit, that football entails,” Romo said Monday. “It’s different from the conditioning aspect of it. So it’s been a great week.”

Romo was waiting for the Cowboys in California, having gone through a self-described boot camp in the mountains while trying to cram a full offseason of conditioning into about a month and a half.

He said he worked as hard as he could to get ready, and practicing Tuesday when Garrett said it might be a day off was another sign he feels good enough to keep going.

“Football is hard to duplicate an 11-on-11 experience with the exact same tempo and feeling,” Romo said. “But there are people around you and it’s something you need to do. I feel very comfortable right now.”

The 33-year-old downplayed the procedure to remove the cyst even in the report that broke the news, saying he was sitting out offseason workouts mostly for precautionary reasons and not ruling out a return for the June minicamp.

He was cleared for full activity only about a week before the minicamp, and Garrett acknowledged last week that Romo “wasn’t quite himself” at the start of camp. But Garrett did say he was progressing.

“I think his feet are much better now,” Garrett said Tuesday. “I think he’s moving more naturally and instinctively each and every day. And, again, that happens with everybody when you start playing football again each year.

But it was noticeable to me that he was improving each and every day.”

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones doesn’t sound worried four months after giving Romo the richest contract in franchise history — a six-year, $108 million contract with $55 million guaranteed, or $3 million more than Super Bowl winner Joe Flacco got from Baltimore.

“I’m not seeing any differences,” Jones told reporters over the weekend. “Maybe I see him playing into shape, he looks a little more comfortable out there than when he started. I like what he’s doing. He’s benefiting not only from on-the-field but off-the-field stuff.”

Jones was unaware of the bizarre weekend flare-up over whether Romo would play Sunday night in the Hall of Fame game against Miami.

Garrett told the team’s flagship radio station that it was “not going to be Tony’s game” because it was an extra exhibition game but a day later would only tell other reporters that a decision hadn’t been made.

Even if Romo plays, it would only be a few snaps. But it became a more pressing question after the new contract and Romo’s idle offseason.

“You all sit down and tell me what you’d do, seriously, about just how much (to play him),” Jones said. “Here he is, he’s coming back, working himself into shape. I think really what Jason meant was with all these guys with a fifth game, we’ll use our head and be sensible about it.”

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