FRISCO, Texas – As the offseason days and months ticked away without a resolution to Tony Romo's football future, a subject of growing speculation surfaced: would the 14-year relationship between Romo and the Cowboys organization become strained?
Romo answered that question definitively Tuesday: no.
"I want to say a big thank-you (to the Jones family). Jerry was amazing," Romo said Tuesday during a conference call announcing his move to CBS Sports as lead NFL game analyst. "I know sometimes maybe it didn't look like it from the outside.
"There were a couple times maybe where things got a little bit, a day or two different than what we thought. But he really was in my corner and the stuff that he said publicly about doing me right, he really did. I've never had a better boss, owner, mentor than Jerry Jones."
The Cowboys on Tuesday officially released Romo, "who will retire from the NFL and pursue a career in broadcasting," according to a team statement – a move that ended months of questions about Romo's status with Dak Prescott entrenched as the Cowboys' quarterback of the present and future.
While outside debate raged on where Romo might resume his NFL career, the soon-to-be 37-year-old ultimately decided to step away from the game as a player.
Many factors were involved: family, health and a new challenge.
"It wasn't a simple decision," he said. "It got easier when I started to really get excited about working with CBS and Jim (Nantz) and that started to get the juices flowing and started to get excited to be part of a team and then go attack a craft. But obviously there's a lot of little things that played a role. Yeah, health played a role, but I can play football, and health-wise I'm probably healthy as I've been in three or four years.
"From that perspective, that wasn't hanging over my head to make a decision for me. As far as family, well, family is as important to me as anything. So that's going to play a role. But football is probably the easiest sport to have a great family life because you literally travel Saturday night and come home Sunday night. We're not on the road for weeks at a time.
"I do like the aspect of being able to spend time with your kids, but that wasn't just the only reason. That was a part of it; health was a little bit a part of it. Part of it was just, the closer the got, the more it's an exciting opportunity to have the ability to go to CBS."
In early March at the NFL Scouting Combine, Jones was asked if he and Romo had gained closure, no matter what the 36-year-old quarterback ended up doing with his career next.
"Closure is not the word," Jones said. "What I would want to be doing is want to be seeing Tony – by the way, I would hope that Dak and I get to have the same kinds of years in the future. And I enjoy that with players that we were with the Cowboys 25 years ago. I enjoy that today with them. And it doesn't impact other than to just remind me that in many cases you're going to know these players for the rest of your life."[embeddedad0]
The sentiment was reinforced in late February at a 25-year Cowboys reunion celebrating the team's three Super Bowl championships in the 1990s.
"When you think of that, that's not closure. What that is, is just the beginning," Jones said. "I know I'm saying the obvious here, but I feel that way about Tony and these guys you know you're going to spend a lot of time with. That's why I'm here."
A month later, his future resolved, Romo agreed.
"I'd be remiss if I went through this entire (conference call) conversation and never mentioned how much he (Jones) has meant to me and how much he'll mean to me going forward," he said. "Because he'll always be in my life and I think I'll always be in his."