Why does it matter if Romo plays Sunday?

July, 28, 2013
7/28/13
2:30
PM ET
There's always room for Jell-O, there's always money in the banana stand, and there's always drama around the Dallas Cowboys. No matter how innocuous the cause, no matter the time of year, nothing's easy with the Cowboys, and so it's no surprise that there's this mini-controversy springing up about whether quarterback Tony Romo will play in next Sunday night's Hall of Fame game against the Dolphins. Per Todd Archer:
With Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett reportedly contemplating sitting Tony Romo in the Aug. 4 Hall of Fame Game against the Miami Dolphins, sources close to the quarterback say he wants to play even if it's just short work.

"They'll have to give him a good reason not to play," a source said.

One reason could be the time off Romo had after undergoing surgery to remove a cyst from his back in April. He did not take part in organized team activities or June minicamp and was cleared in mid-June for full workouts. Romo has taken every team rep so far in five training camp practices. The team has said it will monitor Romo's throws in practice and they have backed him off in some on-air drills.

I mean, I guess I understand wanting to play, but why would Romo make any kind of issue of this? The Hall of Fame game is an extra preseason game. The Cowboys will still have their usual four to come once it's done. Garrett's comments appear to be rooted in common sense (which, granted, can sometimes seem as out of place in Dallas as a toothbrush on a Candy Land board). If you're being careful with your quarterback already, what's the point of exposing him to live, angry opposition more times than you (a) have to, or (b) normally would even if you weren't being careful?

Can't imagine too much comes of this. If Romo really wants to play, it's easy to see them letting him play the first offensive series, which well could consist of only three plays, then trading his helmet for a backwards baseball cap the rest of the night while Kyle Orton takes over and a national television audience slowly re-learns the annual lesson that preseason NFL games are gargantuan letdowns. But however it turns out, it appears that one of the dominant storylines in Oxnard this week will center on whether Romo gets to play Sunday night in Canton. Seems pretty silly to me.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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