Moveover, Brett Favre?Tony Romo, cough, cough, says he can't rule out a return to the NFL.
The Cowboys quarterback was asked several times Tuesday during a CBS call announcing his hire by the network whether he was done playing football. Each time, he declined to say categorically thathe was.
Romo is replacing Phil Simms as the lead game analyst on its No. 1 announce team with play-by-play announcer Jim Nantz and sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson.
Sports stars ranging from Favre to the NBA Michael Jordan have retired, only to unretire later. A reporter asked whether Romo would consider a comeback if the right team called this fall.
You "never say never," replied Romo, who was represented in his TV negotiations by powerhouse talent agency CAA.
He even referenced infamoussports liars such as Nick Saban, who swore he was not taking the Alabama head coachingjob. Until he did.
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"I wish I could tell you unequivocally, 100 percent, for the rest of my lifeI'll never play any sports at all. You know?I don't envision coming out. But I've also seen enough things from 'I'm notgoing to Alabama' to 'I'm doneplaying football.' Things that happen in life," he said. "Do I envision coming back and playing football? Absolutely not. I'm committed to CBS. I'm going to be there for good. Do I think I'm going to get some calls? I'm sure I will. There are not enough quarterbacks, as is, to win 12 games in the NFL anyway."
Despite feeling healthier than he has in years (he said he "could play tomorrow"), Romo added "there's no part of me that wants to play."
Contrary to popular belief, he said, quarterbacks can't just show up under center after months away from thefield.
"It takes so much. You don'tjust get up off the couch. I would literally have to make that decision now, that I might be playing, to really get ready to play. And I'm not making that decision now," said Romo, who will turn 37on April 21.
"Iam choosing CBS over playing football. That's what I'm doing right now. That's the decision I want to make. It's not because I'm being forced to," he added. "I'm excited about this. It's going to be great. Hopefully, I'm good enough to do this for a really long time. They don't want to get rid of me anytime soon. If that's the case, I don't envision going back. It's just the reality of the way I think and feel. That's why it's easy for me to say I'm going to CBS and I'm not playing football."
There's always a "but" with players like Romo, though, especially when they have gasleft in the tank.
Quarterbacks older than Romo, like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, have won Super Bowls. Nothing TV provides him will give him the same juice as playing in an NFL game.
Who's to say what he'll do when he gets the itch this fall?
Jason Whitlock of Fox Sports1's "Speak for Yourself" warned Romo that he better be ready for criticism.Romo is taking over the No. 1 job from Simms, not joining a third-string announcing team broadcasting games to 10 percentof the country.It's a high-risk, high-reward move that will play out on a big TV stage, Whitlock said.
NFL stars bigger than Romo, from fellow Cowboys legend Emmitt Smith to Joe Montana, have flopped on TV.
"This is not a bad decision. But it's not a layup like (Romo) may think or other people may think. He will get destroyed if he's not any good at this," said Whitlock.