IRVING, Texas – The questions about Tony Romo's health aren't going to go away, but the Cowboys' veteran quarterback surely must be tired of answering them by now.
Romo didn't take center stage on Thursday night, as he attended Fashion's First Down – a charity fashion show presented by the Dallas Cowboys Women's Association and chaired by his wife, Candice.
While Romo certainly did lend his support to the cause, he also talked football and once again addressed the ever-present issue of his injury history and his broken collarbone.
"I understand where I'm at in my career. I also understand that – I was hurt and banged up last year, but it's a collarbone," he said. "I don't think my collarbone is going to be anything that takes you out every year that you play football."
The collarbone is the latest of several ailments that prompt questions about Romo's longevity. He broke it for the second time in September, after first suffering the injury in 2010. He returned from that after a nine-week absence, only to break it again on Thanksgiving.
For all the consternation about that problem, though, Romo doesn't see it as a recurring issue. He did go five years between injuries, and he had surgery to strengthen the bone in March. On top of that, he's throwing and participating fully in the Cowboys' offseason program.
"I guess what I'm trying to say, basically, is I feel like last year was an anomaly," he said. "If we're going to base it all on that, you have to come back and prove differently. But the fact that we went 4-12, whether I was playing or not – we have to do better. I think part of that is me being healthy, I think part of that is guys getting better and improving."
That's been a theme for this team as it seeks to bounce back from such a disappointing season. Jason Witten, who was also in attendance at Fashion's First Down, has often repeated that actions speak louder than words.
"When you come off a year like that, you've just got to go to work," Witten said. "Nothing we can really say is going to justify what happened last season. We've just got to be better."
Witten did allow that Romo has looked sharp and energetic during the Cowboys' OTAs to this point. Given the struggles at quarterback without him last fall, that can only be seen as a positive.
"I think that excites us all, to know that somebody at that position, what's asked of him – how well he's playing," Witten said. "It gives us such positive feelings moving forward, to see him back healthy and better than what he was before."
Storylines are always at their most optimistic in the offseason, before the pads go on and the competition ramps up. It'll ultimately be on Romo to prove he can keep his good health, just like it'll be on the Cowboys to prove they're better this time around.
With those goals in mind, Romo described the offseason so far as a good start.
"I think you've got to play with that chip on your shoulder, and our team needs to play with that," he said. "They need to work like that, and so far this offseason I think we've been doing that."