A look at Tony Romo playing through pain

December, 24, 2013
12/24/13
10:20
AM ET

IRVING, Texas -- History tells you Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo will do everything he can to play Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, despite what sources have told ESPN is a herniated disk in his back.

“It’s like anything, you play through it,” Romo said after the 24-23 win against the Washington Redskins. “It’s football.”

Romo has played through pain countless times in his career.

In 2008 he tried to play with a broken pinky finger on his throwing hand against the St. Louis Rams, going through pregame warm-ups until the coaches decided to start Brad Johnson. Romo missed three games that year. In the finale that year against the Eagles -- a 44-6 loss -- he suffered a rib injury that led to him collapsing in the shower.

He attempted to put himself back in the game after breaking his collarbone against the New York Giants in 2010 before he was pulled back by a member of the athletic training staff. In 2011, he played through a broken rib and punctured lung, wearing a protective vest for six weeks and needed pain-killing injections.

On Sunday, with pain down his legs for most of the second half after a hit aggravated his back, Romo led the Cowboys on an 87-yard game-winning drive that ended with a fourth-and-goal touchdown pass to DeMarco Murray with 1:08 to play. Twice on the series Romo ran free from pressure to make big completions.

“Line one with Tony Romo is his competitive spirit,” coach Jason Garrett said Monday. “When you evaluate him that’s what you love about him more than anything else. He’s demonstrated that over the course of his career with us. A couple of years ago he played in San Francisco and he had that rib/lung issue and told you guys this story before he came out in the second half and literally just kind of said, ‘I’m in.’ We didn’t know the extent of the injury at that point but he went in there and played and we won that game in overtime. And he made some big throws down the stretch. That’s his nature. He’s played with injuries before. He’s played with pain before. That’s a part of the job description in the National Football League. A lot of guys on our team do that. A lot of guys around the league do. Tony’s no different but certainly you appreciate his competitive spirit, his desire to play and really at the level he played down the stretch to be able to deal with that is awfully impressive.”

Owner and general manager Jerry Jones refused to rule Romo out on his weekly radio show on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas on Tuesday, but even if he is cleared by the doctors, the Cowboys will still have to go through the long term risk and rewards of playing him.

Todd Archer

ESPN Dallas Cowboys reporter

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