via The Sports Xchange
Tony Romo was granted his release from the Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday and subsequently retired and accepted a job as the lead game analyst for CBS, the Cowboys and the network separately announced.
The longtime quarterback has been considering his future over the past few months and the television opportunity led to him ending a 14-year career spent solely with the Cowboys.
“We wish Tony and his family nothing but the best,” Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said in a statement. “As an organization, we did what he asked us to do in terms of his release, and we wanted to do what was ultimately in his best interest and in the best interest of his family.”
Romo will join Jim Nantz and sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson on CBS’ top broadcast team. Romo replaces Phil Simms, whose new role has yet to be determined.
Romo tweeted out a photo showing him wearing a CBS blazer and said, “I guess it’s time to start dressing up. #CBS”
He said he always felt he would be a television analyst upon retiring.
“When you think about the NFL, two of the most iconic brands are the Dallas Cowboys and CBS Sports,” Romo said in a CBS Sports news release. “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.”
The No. 1 CBS crew handles Thursday Night Football and Sunday afternoon games.
“Tony has been one of the NFL’s biggest stars for the past decade, and we are thrilled to welcome him to CBS Sports,” CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said in a statement. “He will bring the same passion, enthusiasm and knowledge that he displayed on the field to the broadcast booth. He brings a fresh and insightful perspective to our viewers having just stepped off the field. We know Tony will quickly develop into a terrific analyst, and alongside Jim Nantz, will become a must-listen for fans each week.”
The timing of Romo’s retirement helps the Cowboys from a financial standpoint.
Dallas plans to designate him as a post-June 1 cut and that label will save the Cowboys $14 million this season.
Because the Cowboys released Romo before he retired, they can split up the $19.6 million hit to their 2017 salary cap. Romo will cost the team $10.7 million this season and $8.9 million in 2018.
Offseason speculation centered on Romo joining a new team with QB-needy teams downplaying their interest at last week’s owners meetings. The Denver Broncos, Houston Texans and San Francisco 49ers were reportedly checking into the potential of adding Romo.
Romo is the all-time leading passer in Cowboys history with 34,183 yards and 248 TD passes.
Romo, who turns 37 on April 21, has made $127 million in his career, but injuries began taking a toll in recent years.
In 2016, Romo was sidelined in August by a fractured vertebrae and only played one series — at Philadelphia in the regular season finale — all season. It was only the latest in a run of major injuries: fractured collarbone (2015), spine (2014), herniated disc (2013).
Romo lost his starting job in 2016 after the preseason back injury pushed rookie Dak Prescott into the No. 1 role with the Cowboys. Prescott went on an unexpected run and won Offensive Rookie of the Year, leading the Cowboys to the divisional playoff round where Dallas suffered a last-second loss to the Green Bay Packers.
He joined the team as an undrafted free agent out of Eastern Illinois in 2003. He threw his first NFL pass in 2006, when Bill Parcells turned to Romo at halftime of the sixth game of the season.
His career record of 78-49 was overshadowed by failure in the playoffs. Dallas never advanced beyond the divisional playoffs in four appearances with Romo, who passed for 300-plus yards 46 times.
“Tony Romo has a unique combination of athletic ability, arm talent, vision and instincts for the game,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said in a statement. “What separates Tony from many other players, however, is a rare competitive spirit. Tony loves to play. Tony loves to compete. The best ones always do. In practice. During games. On the field. Off the field. Tony competes to the end in everything that he does.”
Now Romo is off to the broadcast booth, where he will be asked to replace Simms despite his lack of experience.
“As we welcome Tony, we want to acknowledge Phil Simms who served as our lead NFL analyst for nearly 20 years,” McManus said. “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.”
One possibility for Simms is joining the studio show as an opening was created when Tony Gonzalez recently said he won’t return after a three-season stint