When Tony Romo conceded the starting quarterback job of the Dallas Cowboys to Dak Prescott, it was more than just an acceptance of second place. It was a heart-felt, and touching personal story on his journey in the NFL, and the misfortune he has faced these past two seasons. But what stood out the most was Romo’s character. Even as a veteran losing his job to a rookie, Romo was supportive and honest in his comments about Dak Prescott earning the starting job. Romo’s comments showed not only his love for the game of football, but the true team player that he is, embodying the spirit that we say we want players to show, as role models for young athletes. He put the team before himself.
“If you think for a second that I don’t want to be out there, then you’ve probably never felt the pure ecstasy of competing and winning. That hasn’t left me. In fact, it may burn more now than ever,” he said at the time.
Today, the Dallas Cowboys announced their intent to release Romo from the roster. And I hope that he will get a chance to play somewhere next year, and finally get past the injuries he has suffered the past few seasons. But regardless of whether he plays football again or not, Tony Romo has shown he is a class act and model teammate, and his example is one that should not go unnoticed.
In a world where youth and professional sports are so focused on the best players, Romo set an example that we all should preach and follow. Your duty as an athlete to perform well should not overshadow the importance of being a good teammate. The fact that Romo was able to take himself from being face of the franchise to the bench without causing distraction teaches a lesson that we should pass down to younger athletes worried about their role on a team.