Tony Romo Retiring After 15-Year Cowboys Career, Becoming Broadcaster

Alec NathanFeatured ColumnistApril 4, 2017

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 01: Quarterback Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys attempts a pass against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second quarter of a game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 1, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Tony Romo went from an undrafted also-ran to a true franchise quarterback in the span of a few seasons, but his storied career ended Tuesday when the 36-year-old retires to pursue a broadcasting career. 

Romo will go into broadcasting after the Dallas Cowboys released him Tuesday. The Cowboys have turned in the paperwork to officially relinquish his future NFL rights, per ESPN's Todd Archer.

Romo tweeted a photo wearing a CBS sports jacket: 

Romo will replace Phil Simms and be paired with Jim Nantz as CBS' top game analyst, according to Sports Business Daily's John Ourand, who added more details regarding Romo's decision:

Just a couple of weeks ago, Fox was considered the front-runner to land Romo, since it carries the NFC package that Romo knows so well. But a concern for Romo was that another former Cowboys QB, Troy Aikman, is the net's top NFL game analyst, and he is not likely to leave the booth any time soon. 

"We are discussing with Phil his future role with CBS Sports," said CBS in a statement, per Ourand.

ESPN's Adam Schefter and Archer's reported the Cowboys are expected to designate Romo as a post-June 1 cut, meaning the signal-caller will count $10.7 million against the salary cap in 2017 and $8.9 million in 2018. The move will clear $14 million in cap space.

Schefter and Archer reported that Romo's decision to retire was health-related, adding that he "believes his family and his health are paramount at this time in his life." They added that Romo informed Cowboys owner Jerry Jones of his choice to walk away "for now."

An unnamed NFL executive told Schefter that Romo "is now every team's emergency backup QB in case your starter gets hurt, pay him to come out of 'retirement.'"

Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report added that "almost everyone" he's spoken to in NFL front offices believes Romo will play in the future.

Schefter previously reported Fox Sports wanted Romo to replace John Lynch, who took over as general manager of the San Francisco 49ers, on its broadcast team prior to his reported agreement with CBS.

Injuries marred the end of Romo's career.

He was plagued by shoulder issues throughout 2015, and his 2016 season never got off the ground after he suffered a compression fracture of his L1 vertebrae in the Cowboys' third preseason contest against the Seattle Seahawks

Rookie Dak Prescott took over the offense, and Romo couldn't regain his job after the Cowboys went 13-3 and captured an NFC East title before the Green Bay Packers bounced them from the playoffs.

Even though didn't lead the Cowboys to a Super Bowl title during his 15 seasons in Dallas, Romo was one of the league's premier passers during his heyday.

Tony Romo's Career Stats
SeasonGamesPass YdsComp. %Pass TDINT
2006162,90365.31913
2007164.21164.43619
2008133,44861.32614
2009164,48363.1269
201061,60569.5117
2011164,18466.33110
2012164,90365.62819
2013153,82863.93110
2014153,70569.9349
2015488468.657
201612975.010
Source: Pro-Football-Reference.com

The Eastern Illinois product led the Cowboys to a 13-3 finish and NFC East title in 2007, and he helped them repeat that feat in 2009 and 2014.

Romo finished his career with four Pro Bowl selections and a 2014 Second Team All-NFL nod, and he completed 65.3 percent of his passes for a franchise-record 34,183 yards, 248 touchdowns and 117 interceptions over 10 seasons as Dallas' starter.

While it would have been fair had Romo expressed his frustration with the franchise's decision to let Prescott take over even after he healed, the veteran handled his demotion with grace at a November press conference.

"Dak Prescott, and what he's done, he's earned the right to be our quarterback," Romo said, per the New York TimesBenjamin Hoffman. "As hard as that is for me to say, he's earned that right."

However, Romo revealed at the time that he still had a desire to suit up on Sundays.

"If you think for a second I don't want to be out there, then you probably never felt the pure ecstasy of competing and winning," he said. "That hasn't left me. In fact, it may burn now more than ever."

Some time to ponder the future evidently changed Romo's mind, but his decision to step away from the game shouldn't change how his career is assessed in the long run.