Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones threw himself into the Tony Romo injury narrative on Monday night.
After Romo suffered an apparent back injury in the second half, Jones left his owner’s box and went down to the locker room for his medical evaluation.
It was Jones who told ESPN’s Lisa Salters that Romo wanted to come back into the game. It was Jones who informed head coach Jason Garrett in an unusual mid-game conversation that Romo was ready to play.
Since Romo spent the offseason recovering from major back surgery, it was assumed that the Cowboys would exercise extreme caution and not put him back into a relatively unimportant mid-October game. Instead they gave him a pain-killing injection after an x-ray came back negative and inserted him into the game for the final two drives.
The injury is being described as a “bruised back” that’s unrelated to his preexisting injury.
On his weekly radio interview with 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, Jones decided to tell the world that Romo can play Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals as long as he can withstand the pain.
For some reason, he said there’s no reason for Romo not to play unless the pain is too much (via Dallas Morning News):
“At this time, we have nothing medically that would prevent him from playing. What I mean by that is that there’s nothing to his injury that technically won’t function. This is a function of pain tolerance. But it’s a serious issue that you could look at people that have had a similar type injury and they haven’t played the next week, so that would cause you some concern about him playing.
“It is not, at this juncture, in any way, a season-ending injury. But it is one that raises the question of whether or not he can tolerate a certain amount of pain in that area. That’s about what we know right now.”
What could possibly be gained by saying that?
There’s a reason Bill Belichick never tells the media anything about any injuries. All Jones has accomplished here is raising expectations and piling pressure on Romo to play. He also laid the groundwork for an idiotic debate about Romo’s “toughness” if he ultimately decides not to play.
Jones has an unapologetically hands-on approach to owning an NFL team. He has been wildly successful with this approach in many areas, growing the franchise value from $US151 million when he bought the team in 1989 to the $US3.2 billion it’s worth today. But the Romo situation is showing us that handling player injuries shouldn’t be within his scope of responsibilities.
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