Tony Romo, NFL analyst.
On Monday, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones announced the team was finally releasing Tony Romo, giving any NFL team permission to pursue the 36-year-old quarterback.
But rather than seek a starting job with the Denver Broncos or the Houston Texans, Romo has instead chosen to retire from the NFL and accept a job at CBS as the network's top NFL analyst. Romo will be paired with Jim Nantz in the booth in a move that would displace longtime broadcaster and former Giants quarterback Phil Simms. The news was first reported by Sports Business Daily's John Ourand.
It’s unclear whether Simms will simply move to another slot on the network, or leave CBS all together. It’s also not immediately know if Romo would also take over duties on Thursday Night Football, which CBS broadcasts for half the season. One thing worth noting - CBS has the broadcast rights to the Cowboy's annual Thanksgiving game this season.
Romo in production meetings with Garrett and Dak. And you thought your Thanksgiving was gonna be awkward.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) April 4, 2017
CBS also affords Romo the possibility of joining the network's coverage of the PGA down the road. Nantz, his soon-to-be NFL booth partner, is calling the 18th hole at the Masters. Romo has tried hard over the years to qualify for the U.S. Open, and former Sports Illustrated writer Damon Hack said Romo once told him that after he retires, he wanted to "cover golf and the NFL."
Wish Tony Romo the best. Loves golf. Once asked him what he wanted to do post-football: "Cover golf and the NFL for Sports Illustrated."
— Damon Hack (@damonhackGC) April 4, 2017
There has been a lot of speculation over the past month about Romo entering the booth, with sources saying the quarterback’s interest in a broadcasting career is real. But it's still a shocking move, considering Romo had two playoff-ready teams interested in signing him.
FOX Sports had also shown interest in Romo, who they saw replacing John Lynch as an on-air NFL analyst. Lynch, a former safety who played in the league for 15 seasons, left the booth last month to become general manager of the San Francisco 49ers.
With Romo deciding to take a job with CBS, maybe FOX Sports will consider hiring Chip Kelly, who reportedly interviewed with FOX last month for the network's open analyst position.
NBC had also reportedly shown interest in adding Romo to their popular Football Night in America lineup.
According to ESPN, the decision simply comes down to health. Romo, who turns 37 later this month, has dealt with a slew of injuries over the past two seasons.
“The NFL TV producers I've spoken with really love Romo's potential,” Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch said on Twitter last month, adding they say, “he's smart, open, prepared, [and] helpful in TV production meetings.”
Apparently, Romo didn't listen to the advice Deitsch offered him on Twitter Tuesday morning:
If I'm Romo's TV agent, I'm advising taking a No. 2 NFL analyst job this year. Jumping into top analyst spot is a BIG leap w little margin.
— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) April 4, 2017
Romo, an undrafted free agent out of Eastern Illinois, played 15 seasons for the Cowboys, earning four Pro Bowl berths. Over his career, he completed 65.3 percent of his passes for 34,183 yards and 248 touchdowns. Only two other quarterbacks in NFL history -- Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers and New England's Tom Brady -- have a better career passer rating that Romo's 97.1.
This is a breaking news report. Check back for updates. Here's our previous report: