Tony Romo is expected to be activated for the first time on Sunday and he will serve as the Dallas Cowboys backup quarterback for the first time in nearly a decade.
On Tuesday, Romo met with the media for the first time this season. But instead of taking questions, Romo read from a prepared statement that was about as gripping, honest, and emotional as anything you will ever hear from an active player.
In the statement, Romo touched on his own feelings of guilt, how much he still wants to play and compete, and how despite his own desires, Dak Prescott has “earned the right” to be the Cowboys’ starting quarterback.
Romo started by talking about how this Cowboys team was his best one yet and how he felt a “tremendous amount of guilt on having let [his] teammates, fans, and organisation down.”
Romo then went on to talk about the emotions of the 2016 season.
“You are forced to come face-to-face with what is happening,” Romo said. “Seasons are fleeting. Games become more precious. Chances for success diminish. Your potential successor has arrived. Injured two years in a row and now in the mid-30s. The press is whispering. Everyone has doubts. You spent your career working to get here. Now we have to start all over. You almost feel like an outsider. The coaches are sympathetic, but they still have to coach and you’re not there. It’s a dark place. Probably the darkest it has ever been.”
But Romo made it clear that even though his desire to be out there “may burn more now than ever,” he vowed that he was not going to let the situation between him and Prescott become a constant distraction.
“Football is a meritocracy,” Romo said. “You aren’t handed anything. You earn everything. Every single day, over and over again, you have to prove it. That’s the way the NFL, the way football works. A great example of this is Dak Prescott and what he has done. He has earned the right to be our quarterback.”
Romo then reflected on a time when he was the young quarterback replacing a veteran and how others helped him. He vowed to help Prescott.
“If I remember one thing from back then, it’s the people that helped me along when I was young,” Romo said. “If I can be that to Dak, I’ve tried to be, and I will be going forward.”
After finishing his statement, Romo walked off without taking questions.
Watch the full speech here:
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