OXNARD, Calif. -- Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo said he will make his preseason debut Saturday against the Baltimore Ravens, close to eight months after undergoing back surgery that ended his 2013 season.
"You're not guaranteed anything, so it's special just to play football," Romo said after Tuesday's practice against the Oakland Raiders. "It's special to play for the team I get to play for, and it's special to get out there and put the helmet on. For me, I don't take that for granted. I know that it's a great feeling when you do get out there."
Coach Jason Garrett did not commit to Romo playing against the Ravens when asked earlier Tuesday, but last year Romo skipped the Cowboys' first preseason game and saw action in two series in the second game.
With a new playcaller in Scott Linehan and adjustments made to the offense, Romo said it is important that he gets on the field in the preseason. Typically the Cowboys' starters play into the third quarter in their third preseason game and do not play in the final preseason game.
"I think you have to play in the preseason," Romo said. "Obviously, some people can't, but I do know from my perspective, this game is not just something where you can show up and think that you can do it. I think it's been proven far too many times that if you take too long of a break or don't get reps under you that you will be exposed in certain areas. I'm a firm believer that you have to play football to get better at football. Football's a way of life. It's not just [a] sometimes thing. It's an all-the-time thing if you're going to be a great player, and I think if you have the opportunity to play, you've got to play."
Romo's training camp work was limited early, but he has not missed a practice in the Cowboys' past three sessions and said he would practice Wednesday against the Raiders. The Cowboys also practice Thursday before returning home Friday.
Garrett said Romo has started to look more like himself in recent practices. Romo has been cleared for all activities since the opening of camp, but the quarterback and team wanted to build up his work through camp as he learned to trust his body more.
"If you go through an offseason surgery, you've got to reteach yourself small things," Romo said. "The big things are always there. You've done them for years. It's just a couple things tightened up as far as what you want, and it's been nice to see that."
As for taking his first hit in a game, Romo said that won't be an issue.
"I took a hit from DeMarco [Murray] the other day and I've gotten back, so I feel like I've gotten that out the way," Romo said. "The second hit is just nothing."