IRVING, Texas – Tony Romo might not be completely recovered from the back surgery that ended his 2013 season, but he spoke like a man ready to take the field.
Romo gave an exclusive interview to 105.3 The Fan in Dallas on Wednesday afternoon, with what were perhaps his second public comments since undergoing surgery on his back ahead of the 2013 regular season finale against Philadelphia.
It's been roughly a month since the Cowboys began their offseason program, and less than one week before the start of organized team activities. Romo said he has been able to take part this year after missing last spring following a separate back surgery.
"It's just a rehab process that goes on, and I think your back kind of tells you how you're feeling, and it's feeling good," he said. "I've been doing some of the teaching sessions on the field, throwing the football, lifting and running. It's been a good month."
As has been said throughout the offseason by the likes of team owner/general manager Jerry Jones, as well as coach Jason Garrett, Romo reiterated that he is on track to recover from the surgery.
"Within the next month, I think there's no question we'll be 100 percent – hopefully within the next week or two … We'll be smart in OTAs, but at the same time we've got to get to work."
He added: "I am on track. What you find after back surgery is you basically have to give it some wiggle room on the time frame. You don't want to put an exact date on it because it's something that will basically tell you."
Considering the speculation on Romo's health this offseason, that's bound to come as welcome information for the Cowboys. With Romo missing Week 17 last year after herniating the disc in his back against Washington, there's been plenty of talk the Pro Bowler's future could be in doubt. Famously, there was plenty of conversation about drafting rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel, among others, to replace him.
Asked about that speculation, Romo said there's only one surefire way to quell it.
"For me, I think you just go play," he said. "There's no question in my mind, not only am I going to be able to make it through 16 games, I'll make it through another five years."
The Cowboys' draft strategy in recent seasons is a primary cause of that optimism. Dallas drafted Zack Martin No. 16 overall in the NFL draft earlier this month, giving the Cowboys first-round picks at three spots on the offensive line – something that wasn't lost on Romo. [embedded_ad]
"The best teams put a lot of pressure on the quarterback, and they're able to protect the guy standing back there … I'm excited. I think the next four or five years are going to be our best team," he said. "I like to think we're going to be much improved next year, but I also know over the course of the next couple seasons, we're going to be a much, much better football team than we have been in the last few years."
Those past few seasons have seen the Cowboys famously fall just short of contention – missing the postseason by a single win in three-straight years. Through all the criticism and debate, though, Romo said the challenge is a worthwhile one.
"The fact that it's hard to get to where we're trying to go makes it incredibly enjoyable, and it's what drives you. It's why I'm going to come back a better player than I've ever been," he said. "I think the next five years, our football team is going to be better than it's been in seven years. I firmly believe that we've kind of had to get some pieces to get back to where we were six or seven years ago, and I think we're getting close. I hope it's this year, and it might take two years, but I do know our football team has improved."