The Dallas Cowboys released longtime quarterback Tony Romo Tuesday and, rather than trying to chase a Super Bowl with another team, Romo will retire and go into broadcasting with CBS.
Romo, the team and CBS all confirmed the news Tuesday afternoon. Romo was first, tweeting a photo of himself in a blazer with a CBS logo on the pocket, along with the message, "I guess it's time to start dressing up. #CBS"
The Cowboys followed that with a statement that the 36-year-old quarterback was being released at his request so that he could pursue a career in broadcasting. Then came CBS, confirming Romo would be the network's lead NFL game analyst beginning with the 2017-2018 season and that he'll work alongside Jim Nantz and Tracy Wolfson on Sunday afternoons and Thursday nights.
“We wish Tony and his family nothing but the best. 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," said team owner Jerry Jones in a statement Tuesday.
“Tony has been a wonderful representative of the Cowboys organization for 14 years, and he left everything he had on the field. He will leave us with many great memories and a legacy of being, truly, one of the greatest players in Cowboys history. We are thrilled for him and his family that he will be able to continue working as a professional in the game he so dearly loves," Jones said. “He is a young man who is just getting started on a long journey in life. All the best my friend.”
Head coach Jason Garrett agreed with Jones, saying Romo was one of the best players in team history, while adding that it was a "great privilege to work with him."
“Tony Romo has a unique combination of athletic ability, arm talent, vision, and instincts for the game. 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," Garrett said. “That relentless spirit that Tony plays with is contagious. He makes his teammates better. He makes his coaches better. He makes his team better. He has grown so much as a player and as a person over the course of his career and has made a significant impact on the lives of so many. I consider myself fortunate to be at the top of that list. It has been one of the great privileges of my life to work with Tony Romo, one of the greatest players in Dallas Cowboys history.”
Quarterback Dak Prescott, who replaced Romo as the starter last season, posted a photo on Instagram thanking Romo for being a mentor.
"From a fan of yours to being your teammate: THANK YOU for the advice on & off the field to making plays that I'll never forget!"
“Tony has been one of the NFL’s biggest stars for the past decade, and we are thrilled to welcome him to CBS Sports,” said McManus. “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.”
“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.”
Former CBS sideline reporter Bonnie Bernstein, citing Romo's lack of broadcasting experience, slammed the quarterback in a series of tweets saying it's "total crap" he'd landed one of the most "coveted positions in all of sports broadcasting."
As for Simms, CBS said they are discussing his future with the network.
“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.”
Romo's departure from Dallas has been the most likely outcome since November, when he returned after missing the first 10 weeks with a back injury. He conceded the starting job to rookie Dak Prescott with the Cowboys in the middle of a franchise-record 11-game winning streak.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told Romo before free agency opened that the team would release him to give him a chance to continue his career with another contender. But Dallas decided at the last minute to try to generate interest in a trade.
That move gave Romo more time to consider retirement, and the likelihood appeared to grow when he played in a golf tournament last week. Romo, who turns 37 this month, had given up his favorite hobby after a series of back injuries that included two surgeries in less than a year.
By releasing Romo, he'll count $10.7 million against the 2017 salary cap — down from $24.7 million — and $8.9 million against the 2018 cap.
Romo spent the 2017 season as backup quarterback to rookie Dak Prescott after suffering a back injury in the preseason. His injury history is what led to his decision to retire, according to ESPN's report.
Romo has been with the Cowboys since going undrafted in 2003 out of Eastern Illinois. He replaced Drew Bledsoe as Dallas' starting quarterback during the 2006 season.
The four-time Pro Bowler is the most prolific passer in Cowboys history. His 34,183 passing yards, 248 touchdowns and 97.1 passer rating rank first in team history. He also holds the team record for passing yards in a game (506 in 2013) and a season (4,903 in 2012).
Romo was 78-49 as the starter in Dallas, but just 2-4 in the postseason, with no road victories and no trips to the NFC championship game for a proud franchise that is one of just three teams that hasn't played for the NFC title the past 21 seasons.
His playoff debut a little more than 10 years ago illustrated the playoff struggles ahead when Romo infamously flubbed the snap on what could have been a winning field goal in Seattle.
A year later, the Cowboys lost their playoff opener to the New York Giants as the No. 1 seed in the NFC, a defeat that stung even more for fans because Romo went to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, during the bye week with several teammates.
Romo didn't help his perception after the 2008 season finale, a 44-6 loss at Philadelphia that kept Dallas out of the playoffs when he infamously said, "If this is the worst thing that will ever happen to me, then I've lived a pretty good life."
As time passed, Romo seemed to understand why that quote struck a nerve for followers of America's Team. And he gave them the only playoff victories for the Cowboys since their last Super Bowl title following the 1995 season.
The most recent postseason win -- in the wild-card round against Detroit -- came during the last season that Romo was the full-time starter in 2014. The next season, he missed 12 games with a twice-broke left collarbone as the Cowboys went first-to-worst at 4-12.
When Romo broke a bone in his back on an awkward tackle from behind in the preseason at Seattle, Prescott had already shown promise in the first two exhibition games. After losing his regular-season debut to the New York Giants, Prescott guided the Cowboys on their record streak, with Romo as his backup for the final three wins.
Romo played just one series in his final season with Dallas, and his last pass was a 3-yard touchdown to Terrance Williams in a meaningless regular-season finale at Philadelphia. His last snap in a home regular-season game was the last of three broken collarbones sustained in his career, on Thanksgiving in 2015 against Carolina.
While chided for his interest in golf and celebrity girlfriends, Romo developed a reputation for toughness. He led two fourth-quarter comebacks on the road with serious injuries -- fractured ribs and a punctured lung at San Francisco early in 2011 and a herniated disc in his back at Washington two years later.