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Gut Feeling: Staff Writers' Instant Reaction To Tony Romo's Release, New CBS Role

FRISCO, Texas– After months of speculation, Tony Romo is no longer a Dallas Cowboy.

He's no longer an NFL quarterback.

As of late Tuesday afternoon, he's the new lead NFL analyst for CBS Sports.

It's the end of an era in Dallas, officially.

The staff reacts to Tuesday's groundbreaking news that the Cowboys have released Romo and the former longtime quarterback is headed for a new career in television:

Nick Eatman: It didn't matter that we've talked about this for months and expected it to go down about 25 days ago. Still, seeing it on the email that "Dallas Cowboys Release Tony Romo" was a bit surreal. We knew it was coming. In fact, it's gonna happen to all of them, even that tight end who keeps signing new deals. But this was an end of an era – one that I had the privilege to watch from start to finish. It's a little bittersweet because while I am happy for Tony and I definitely know he will be good on TV, I still think he has some left in the tank. Here's a guy who marched the team down the field and threw a touchdown pass and it was rather effortless. From what we heard, he was the best quarterback in practice over the last month of the season so I still think he can play. And I really believe he knows that as well. So you wonder if he's really going out on his own terms. Then again, maybe there wasn't a huge market for him right now. That might change the first time a quarterback goes down in training camp or the preseason. I kinda wonder if he's really thrown his last pass, but if he has, at least it was a touchdown.

David Helman: Football players and coaches are always going to tell you that they're focused on the task at hand, never worrying about side factors or distractions – and I think that's largely a lie. For that reason alone, it feels like a gigantic relief for this organization to have answered the incessant Tony Romo questions once and for all. None of this is meant as a slight toward the veteran quarterback. He's one of the most important players in franchise history, and I think he'll rightly wind up in the Ring of Honor. But the Cowboys, having established Dak Prescott as their starter, needed to move forward – rip the band-aid off, so to speak. Yes, Dak was brilliant in 2016 and did a masterful job of silencing any doubters about his ability. But will every season be as charmed going forward? Will the Cowboys win 11-straight games in every year of Prescott's career? Probably not. For that reason, I don't think it made sense to drag this on any longer, leaving any questions about who presents the best option at quarterback. This decision gives way to a new era and allows the Cowboys to move forward without any more debates or unanswered questions. It's like finally turning in a tough exam in school. Even if you don't know how it'll pan out, it's a relief to have it over with.[embeddedad0]

Rob Phillips: Romo's career always fascinated me because it was half fairytale, half Greek tragedy – an undrafted rookie with a $10,000 signing bonus who quarterbacked America's team for 10 years with a lot of heartbreak along the way: the botched field goal in Seattle, the injuries. 'Surprise' was never an emotion I expected when Romo and the Cowboys parted ways – there had been too much speculation for too long. Yet, the official team announcement Tuesday in all caps – "DALLAS COWBOYS RELEASE TONY ROMO" – was jarring to see on a piece of paper. He had been the face of the franchise for so long. He had put the team on his back during those lean 8-8 years as the roster went through a subtle rebuild, particularly on the offensive line. I hope fans appreciate how competitive and productive he was as the leader of the team for decade, even though dreams of a Super Bowl were never realized.

Bryan Broaddus: I am not really sure that Jerry Jones knew what he had when he hung up the phone with Tony Romo in April 2003. What Jones did know is that he wasn't going to lose Romo to Mike Shanahan of the Broncos in college free agency, despite a higher offer from Denver. For Jones and Romo it was the beginning of a partnership that would last some 14 seasons, which in itself was remarkable considering the struggles of this organization had in replacing Troy Aikman. To be honest, it wasn't always easy for Romo. If Quincy Carter had not failed multiple drug tests in 2004, there was a pretty good chance that Romo would have not been on this team. At the time, he was the fourth quarterback on a team that was only going to keep three on the roster. As he steps away from the game, what I will always remember about Tony Romo is that things weren't always easy for him. As smooth as the transition was in 2006, he had his share of struggles. Early in his career, he wasn't a great practice player. Matter of fact, there were times where the scouting department wondered why he was on the roster. But for every bad practice, there was a flash of brilliance when he got to play. In scouting you're taught not to grade the flashes, but with Romo, you couldn't help it. What Jones, coaches and scouts have learned about Tony Romo over the years is that what physical traits he might have lacked, he made up with intelligence and an incredible willingness not to fail. Romo has been broken in half and struggled with bad breaks, but every time he stepped on that field, he gave this organization everything he had – and for that he should always have a special place in your Cowboys memories.     

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