Dallas Cowboys Players Privately Don't Believe Tony Romo Will Play

Mike FreemanNFL National Lead WriterDecember 26, 2013

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The biggest question in the NFL this week: Will Tony Romo play or won't he?

If one of his teammates is to be believed, the players themselves have their doubts. This anonymous source told Bleacher Report that while the Cowboys are hoping their starting quarterback will play, there is doubt among many that he will.

"We are basically prepping as if he won't play," the player said.

Let's be clear here: The player isn't saying Romo won't play. He is saying the general feeling in the locker room is that team is preparing for the Philadelphia Eagles as if he won't.

"I think the mindset of most players is that Kyle's the guy," the player said of backup quarterback Kyle Orton.   

Jul 21, 2013; Oxnard, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks Tony Romo (9) and Kyle Orton (18) at training camp at the River Ridge Fields. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The player asked not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the story. He also declined to elaborate on what he meant by stating the Cowboys were preparing for the Eagles as if Romo wouldn't play. My guess is he means that on the practice field and in the classroom, everything is pointing to Orton starting.

The player said Romo hasn't attended a team function all week. The player also added that Romo has told some teammates—but not the source directly—that he has had difficulty walking all week. If that is indeed accurate, that Romo is still having problems just walking, then that says a great deal.

According to ESPN's Ed Werder, the epidural procedure Romo received to alleviate the pain and inflammation in the back only made the situation marginally better. Coach Jason Garrett said at his news conference that if Romo doesn't practice on Friday—he didn't on Thursday—he wouldn't necessarily be ruled out for Sunday. It's very possible the Cowboys play the guessing game with Romo all the way up until Sunday.

Again, to be clear, I'm not saying Romo won't play. What I'm saying is if he did, it would be a post-Christmas miracle. Like, an epic, all-time miracle.

What seems to be more likely is the Cowboys are playing a great game of poker. They are publicly stating they have hope Romo will play as a way of getting the Eagles to buy into their bluff, thus forcing them to prepare for both Romo and Orton.

Meanwhile, in the locker room, it seems players are already preparing for life without Romo.


Mike Freeman covers the NFL for Bleacher Report.