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Cowboys Sign Veteran Jon Kitna As Third QB


IRVING, Texas -- In a move reminiscent of their 2010 season, the Cowboys signed veteran quarterback Jon Kitna to help offset an injury to Tony Romo.

The team made the move official Wednesday morning. Kitna joins the Cowboys as a third quarterback behind Kyle Orton. Romo is currently receiving treatment for a back injury suffered last Sunday afternoon against Washington, and his status for this Sunday's game against Philadelphia is unknown.

Veteran return man Micheal Spurlock, who had a 62-yard punt return in the win against the Redskins, was cut to make room for Kitna.

The Cowboys called the 41-year-old Kitna sight-unseen from his retirement as a math teacher and football coach at Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Wash., after working out several other quarterbacks on Tuesday -- David Carr, Tyler Thigpen, John Skelton and Richard Bartel.

Kitna arrived in Dallas on Tuesday night in order to undergo a physical on Christmas Morning. The Cowboys are scheduled to practice Wednesday afternoon in a schedule somewhat altered to let the players and coaches spend the morning with their families.

This will be Kitna's second stint in Dallas. He backed up Romo from 2009-11 and started nine games in 2010 when Romo went out with a broken clavicle. He retired after the 2011 season, which paved the way for the Cowboys to sign Orton in March of 2012.

Unlike that 2010 season, Kitna would not be the starter if Romo is unavailable against the Eagles, but an insurance policy for Orton. The Cowboys have only carried two quarterbacks on their roster since Alex Tanney was signed off their practice squad by Cleveland on Nov. 26. [embedded_ad]

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Monday the team would likely add a third quarterback to help the team in practice while Romo convalesces.

"We probably will sign another quarterback, just because Kyle Orton is the only other quarterback we have on our roster -- we don't have a quarterback on our practice roster," he said.

Kitna played 15 NFL seasons prior to his retirement. He played for Seattle from 1996-2000, Cincinnati from 2001-05 and Detroit from 2006-08 prior to joining the Cowboys.

Jerry Jones said in an interview on 105.3 The Fan on Tuesday morning that he was not ready to rule Romo out for the weekend. But he also said the Cowboys gave Orton a three-year, $10 million contract in 2012 for this exact situation.

"We're in as good of shape under these circumstances as you possibly could be in," Jones said. "I have every reason to think, if needed, Kyle Orton could step out there and do a really good job for us. We've planned on that very event."

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