By Barry Janoff
April 4, 2017: Tony Romo may have played for 14 seasons in the NFL, but he’s a rookie again.
Romo on Tuesday (April 4) was released by his only NFL team, the Dallas Cowboys, by mutual agreement, enabling him to sign a multi-year deal with a new team, as an analyst during NFL games on CBS.
"It's going to be a great challenge for me. I'm going to have to learn this craft, and I'm going to have to improve. And improve quickly," Romo said during a media conference call, which also included Sean McManus, chairman for CBS Sports.
"That's kind of exciting. The competitive aspect of that gets me excited to get up and go attack it. I hope that I'm able to make the CBS family proud of their decision," Romo said.
Romo, who was signed out of Eastern Illinois by the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2003, will work with Jim Nantz and Tracy Wolfson for Sunday NFL On CBS and Thursday Night Football games beginning with the 2017 NFL season.
"People have said to us, 'Boy, you're taking a guy that's coming right from the field into a position as a lead analyst, isn't that a risk?'" said McManus. "Well, I think it's a very manageable risk, to be honest with you.
"Tony will be having all sorts of work this summer, whether it's doing practice games, whether it's doing preseason games, whether it's sitting down and looking at film and tape of other analysts and the kind of job that they do," said McManus.
Romo concurred. "If I come in and don’t do a good job, I’ll spend 20 hours a day in the film room. If you have the ability, and you work hard, you should succeed at what you do."
During his career, Romo passed for 34,183 yards and 248 TDs, making the Pro Bowl four times.
Concurrently, he played in just four games in 2015 due to injuries — a challenge that has plagued him for much of his pro career — and in just one game this past season. That in large part was due to the arrival and rise of rookie quarterback Dak Prescott, who stepped in as a starter while Romo was rehabbing and passed for 23 TDs and 3,667 yards, relegating Romo to the bench.
Prescott led Dallas to a 13-3 record and first place in the NFL East before losing in the post-season to teh Green Bay Packers.
Romo said he considered joining another NFL team, and was give permission by the Cowboys to do so, but ultimately decided on a major career change.
"I did talk to other networks, and I want to thank them as well, they were great throughout this process," Romo said during the media conference call. "I felt a real connection with the CBS group and I just felt at this time that the opportunity to work with them is really a gift and a privilege.
"I’m making the decision to go to CBS because I am choosing CBS over playing football," Romo said. "That's the decision I want to make. Not because I'm being forced to . . . I'm excited about this. It's going to be great, and hopefully I'm good enough to do this for a really long time, 15-20-30 years."
"I felt a real connection with the CBS group and I just felt at this time that the opportunity to work with them is really a gift and a privilege."
Romo’s arrival takes another NFL quarterback-turned-TV analyst out of the starting line up, Phil Simms, a two-time Super Bowl champion with the New York Giants who has been with CBS Sports for almost 20 years.
Simm’s current status with CBS sports remains in flux.
"As we welcome Tony, we want to acknowledge Phil Simms who served as our lead NFL analyst for nearly 20 years,” said McManus. "Phil has been a very important part of our coverage since the NFL returned to CBS in 1998. His strong opinions, coupled with his tremendous knowledge and passion for the National Football League, has created a unique broadcasting style making him one of the best analysts to ever call the game.
"We are discussing with Phil his future role with CBS Sports. We cannot thank him enough for the way he has represented himself and CBS Sports during his tenure as CBS's lead NFL analyst," said McManus.
"When you think about the NFL, two of the most iconic brands are the Dallas Cowboys and CBS Sports,” said Romo. "Going from one legendary team to another as I begin the next phase of my career is a dream come true.
"I have always known that once my playing career was over I wanted to become a broadcaster. I am ecstatic for the opportunity to work with Jim as I learn the craft and convey to fans my passion for this great game."
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