Irving, Texas — Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo isn’t sure how to define young.
Romo just knows he feels more like a 30-year-old than someone on the downhill side of 40 coming off a twice-broken left collarbone and now a couple of years removed from a pair of back surgeries that weren’t far apart.
Plus, his teammates like to kid him about the whole age thing with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on the record he thinks Romo has four or five more good years in him.
“With the way that it’s going right now, the running joke is that I’m the only one in here getting younger each year,” Romo said Wednesday, the second day of offseason practice. “So we’ll see if that continues.”
Romo turned 36 last month, not long after surgery to repair the collarbone that kept him out of 12 games last season and sent the Cowboys sliding from first to worst in the NFC East.
Romo, the franchise’s passing leader in yards and touchdowns, says the collarbone recovery was a breeze compared to the regimen he had to follow when he was returning from back issues. And he sounds like someone ready for the season to start tomorrow, even though he’s quick to remind how much work remains before then.
“Obviously I’m not in my mid-20s anymore, but I do think that based on what my situation has been like the last three or four years, I do think that this is drastically different,” Romo said. “It started to show signs last offseason and this one is different. It takes me back five years ago when I was able to do things.”
Romo might soon be joined at practice by receiver Dez Bryant, who missed seven games and was limited almost all season after breaking his right foot in the opener.
But the Cowboys will be cautious with the 2014 All-Pro, who did some individual work Wednesday but mostly watched practice.
“I actually feel a little ahead of the game,” said Bryant, who had surgery soon after the injury and again after sitting out the final two games with the Cowboys on their way to a 4-12 finish.
“But I’m going to stay patient. We’ve got a long way to go. Ready to play some football.”
The Cowboys went 1-11 last year without Romo, who was injured in Week 2 and missed seven games — all losses — before coming back for two. Dallas won his first game back, but was blown out by Carolina on Thanksgiving when he broke the collarbone again.
Brandon Weeden and Matt Cassel started the first 10 games without Romo, with Cassel getting the only win before he was benched. Kellen Moore, the only one of the three still with the Cowboys, lost the last two games in a season filled with Romo-less practices.
Now he’s back.
“Him being out there is great not only for our team, but his leadership role he has for the younger quarterbacks, for any of the guys that have been around, to be an example of how we do things, especially our offensive system,” offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said.
Romo doesn’t see any limits in what he can show them.
“It’s been exciting to be able to do some of the things that I haven’t been able to do,” he said. “Signs of that show on the football field for myself. And they’re subtle. It’s tough to see from the naked eye. But I do think that my coaches and teammates around me see it.”
The Patriots have asked a federal appeals court in New York City to rehear the “Deflategate” case.
In an eight-page friend of the court brief filed with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals , the Patriots said they “stand to lose their All-Pro quarterback for 25 percent of the upcoming regular season based on a severely flawed process.” They also tried to raise the stakes in an effort to persuade the entire circuit to overrule the 2-1 decision that reinstated Brady’s four-game suspension last month.
The papers say the Patriots “strongly believe” nobody tampered with footballs at the 2015 AFC Championship game. New England defeated Indianapolis, 45-7, and went on to win the Super Bowl.
... Bills general manager Doug Whaley acknowledges he used “a poor choice of words” when referring to football being a violent game he personally didn’t think was intended to be played by humans.
A day earlier, in an interview with Buffalo’s WGR Radio, the GM wondered whether football was meant for “humans.”