Jerry Jones: Cowboys haven’t decided if Tony Romo will play in Week 17

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones played coy responding to rumors on Friday that Tony Romo will play on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Early on Friday morning, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Dak Prescott will start Sunday, while both Mark Sanchez and Romo will play as the game progresses. Other NFL insiders latched onto the story and it circulated as fact.

Appearing on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, Jones shot the rumor down somewhat.

Jason Garrett was also asked about the rumor, and he said, “We haven’t made those determinations,” echoing Jones, per Jon Machota of SportsDay. When asked if Romo wants to play, he responded by saying, “Absolutely. He’s a great competitor. He loves to play football.”

Interestingly, and smartly, neither Jones nor Garrett hinted about any effort by Romo to lobby for playing time. Instead, they are making it clear that he loves the game and would love to play while keeping any internal conversations private, as they should be.

There are arguments to be made on both sides. Romo could certainly use some live action in a real game to prepare for the playoffs. He’s not expected to be needed, but if Prescott goes down to injury, then he’ll be the next man up. And Romo hasn’t played in a game since Cliff Avril took him down in the preseason, breaking a bone in his back.

On the other hand, as Jones has commented many times this past month the Cowboys don’t want to risk Romo getting injured. The owner isn’t concerned about rust, and it’s a fact that Dallas will be running with a second-string offensive line for a portion of Sunday’s game in Philly. Tyron Smith won’t play at all, and he’s the team’s blind-side protector.

It’s going to be interesting to see what ends up happening. Probably the smart move is to keep Romo on the sideline, because another big injury will likely be the end of his career. And Dallas might be looking to trade him next year, even if Jones and Co. will never admit it out loud.