IRVING (AP) — Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has become quite the celebrity this offseason, whether he’s Carrie Underwood’s date at the Country Music Awards or a judge for the Miss Universe pageant.
Those are the kind of off-the-field headlines that can worry a team about distractions — but not owner Jerry Jones.
“I want Tony to be everything he can be on the field, but I like his colorfulness off of it,” Jones said Thursday. “There’s an element of entertainment in football. The publicity comes with the automatic question of what is he not doing when he’s out doing that. I like the way he handles that. I know he has his eye on the ball.”
Romo has had to work hard because the Cowboys are working on a new offensive system under new head coach Wade Phillips.
Among the other starters to show up at Thursday’s voluntary session was wide receiver Terrell Owens, who said of the new offense, “I’m excited about it.”
Jones said he didn’t have second thoughts about paying the June 1 roster bonus of $3 million to bring the 34-year-old back for another season.
“He’s a key player and a key part of our plans,” Jones said. “He’s a big part of what we can do with the ball, and I do know we’re trying to improve getting the ball to him.”
As for Romo, he’s playing down any newfound celebrity, deflecting questions about his “bouncing around” this offseason.
“For me, bouncing around is the two or three times you’ve seen me out,” he said. “In the last 78 days, I’ve probably been out three days.”
Even so, there’s no denying the backup turned Pro Bowler has become a big name.
“It surprises me that people care. It cracks me up,” he said. “I don’t take myself too seriously, but I take my job seriously.”
Cowboys release offensive guard Rivera
IRVING (AP) — Three-time Pro Bowl guard Marco Rivera was released Thursday after two seasons and two back operations while with the Dallas Cowboys.
Rivera initially injured his back while running on a treadmill in March 2005, only a week after signing his $20 million, five-year free agent deal. He had surgery to repair a bulging disc in his lower back, but still started the first 14 games in 2005 before being sidelined by a strained neck.
Last season, Rivera started all 16 regular season games before hurting his back again in the wildcard playoff loss at Seattle and had surgery to repair a herniated disc.