OXNARD, Calif. -- With Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett reportedly contemplating sitting Tony Romo in the Aug. 4 Hall of Fame Game against the Miami Dolphins, sources close to the quarterback say he wants to play even if it's just short work.
"They'll have to give him a good reason not to play," a source said.
One reason could be the time off Romo had after undergoing surgery to remove a cyst from his back in April. He did not take part in organized team activities or June minicamp and was cleared in mid-June for full workouts. Romo has taken every team rep so far in five training camp practices. The team has said it will monitor Romo's throws in practice and they have backed him off in some on-air drills.
"It's one of those deals where I suppose he could play five plays or whatever, but we might lean to no plays," Garrett told the KRLD-FM website, the team's flagship radio network. "But the clock starts on our '1s' (first-teamers) in Week 2 of the preseason. So that's not going to be Tony's game."
During his Saturday news conference, Garrett said the team has not had any discussions about playing time and sounded surprised that Romo's availability was even a storyline.
"It is a bonus preseason game, so once we have those discussions I don't anticipate our starting players playing that much," Garrett said, "and that's the type of progression that we have in the preseason."
In the 2010 Hall of Fame Game against Cincinnati, Romo played in the opening series completing 5-of-10 passes for 59 yards on the first drive that ended in David Buehler's field goal. Given the team's recent history of resting starters heading into the regular season, Romo likely will also sit out the preseason finale against Houston on Aug. 29.
Considering the changes made to the offense, a new play caller in Bill Callahan and a new center in rookie Travis Frederick in addition to his layoff, playing Romo a series vs. the Dolphins might make more sense.
Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said before Friday's practice he was glad the team had an extra preseason game.
"With the work we need in our offensive line, then the changes to the new defense, the 4-3 and Monte Kiffin, I think the game is only going to be a plus," Jones said. "We've got a lot of young players. We've got some younger players coming off injuries that need work, (and) I think it couldn't come at a better time in terms of us getting an extra game."
Whether the veteran Romo gets a series of work against the Dolphins or not apparently is up for debate.