Joe Theismann: Tony Romo should stop playing football

WASHINGTON – Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo returned to the practice field on Wednesday for the first time since suffering a compression fracture of a vertebra in his back during the preseason. As Romo gets closer to game-ready condition, the Cowboys will have a decision to make: stick with rookie quarterback Dak Prescott, who has led Dallas to a 5-1 record, or go back to their oft-injured veteran. Former Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann says Romo should take the decision out of his team’s hands.

“I don’t think he should play football again,” Theismann told The Washington Post. “I’ve told Tony this. His collarbone hasn’t been tested yet. He’s had multiple back issues. I care about Tony Romo the person. He doesn’t have anything to prove to anybody. He’s as tough as it gets. He looked like a guy who couldn’t get out of harm’s way. When you can’t protect yourself out there, you’re going to be at risk to get injured again.”

Theismann, who made a similar statement after Romo was injured in Week 3 of the preseason, understands what Romo is going through better than most. Romo is 36, the same age Theismann was when he broke his leg on Nov. 18, 1985, while being sacked by Lawrence Taylor and Harry Carson on Monday Night Football. Theismann desperately wanted to return to the field the following season, but he was placed on waivers after failing a physical and took a job as an analyst with CBS. Theismann left open the possibility of playing again, but never did.

“Based on what I know to be reality, I don’t think it’s going to happen,” Theismann told a reporter in July 1986. “If it does, it belongs in the same category as walking on water. … The thought of getting hit with 600 pounds of football players on my back – it wouldn’t hold up. I can’t play right now.”

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Romo won’t require the same type of miracle to play again, but Theismann – who thinks the Cowboys should continue to roll with Prescott as their starter no matter what Romo does – wishes Romo would decide to walk away.