Skip to main content

Not Quite AARP Material

one of those $20 million signing bonuses tied up into its quarterback. 

Don't you worry. This is no revelation to Romo. He knows he's still proving himself. He knows he's a work in progress. He knows he's not out of those who-is-this-guy woods just yet. He knows until he earns that big payday the ice he's on will always be moderately thin. 

So to Johnson, unlike had he signed with Denver, there is a sliver of hope to regain a starting position here. And you know what, to me, that's not a bad thing. You want your backup to have a little juice. That keeps him sharp. That keeps him preparing 

And most of all, that means he'll be ready in case the Cowboys do not continue their good fortune with starting quarterback health, having lost only one start due to injury over the past five seasons. What are the odds? Try Powerball. 

Come on, that's what you guys were worried about those final 10 games last year after Drew Bledsoe got yanked, that he had give-up in his soul. 

This, to me, is the fine line the Cowboys were looking for in a backup quarterback: A guy with enough experience to be ready without an enormous amount of practice at the drop of a hat - or the sprain of a shoulder - but not so rusty or incapable that turning to him in the event of performance crisis would be useless. 

Is Johnson older than you would have liked? Well, he does turn 39 the second week in September, which makes him just 2½ years younger than Garrett. But age is relative. Physically, he can still manage a game for you, having completed more than 60 percent of his passes over the past two years while throwing two more touchdown passes (21) than interceptions (19). 

Mentally, he's still a football rat. 

Because when asked why he is still playing heading toward 39 and nearly the age of some of the coaches on Wade Phillips' staff, he never hesitated: 

"I love it. I love talking ball. I workout every day and I enjoy the game - and I feel like I can still play. A big part of that is the right system and the right people and the right players. I've been a part of winning a Super Bowl, and that's something special, and that's what attracts you to the game. 

"But you deal with the highs and lows everyday of it. But it's about the journey, and I've been fortunate to be around a lot of coaches and players. The guys who work the hardest have the longest careers, and I love being around them." 

Perfect. A guy willing to earn his keep, no matter what.                       

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.