NFL: Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo retires, to move into broadcasting

Quarterback Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys attempts a pass against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Quarterback Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys attempts a pass against the Philadelphia Eagles.PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has ended speculation about his future by opting to retire from the National Football League (NFL).

The fate of Romo has been one of the biggest talking points of the close season with the 36-year-old mulling a move after losing his starting role last year to Dak Prescott.

Romo, who has spent his entire professional career with the Cowboys, had been linked to a move to the Denver Broncos and the Houston Texans in an attempt to reignite his career.

However ESPN and several outlets reported that the four-time Pro-Bowler had instead decided to walk away from the sport to pursue a career in broadcasting.

ESPN reported that Romo had an agreement with CBS to be the network's analyst, replacing former NFL quarterback Phil Simms.

"I'm really excited about the challenge ahead," Romo said in a conference call on Tuesday. "I'm excited. It's going to be a great challenge for me ... I hope that I'm able to make the CBS family proud with their decision."

Last month Romo said goodbye to the Cowboys even though his fate remained unclear, taking to social media to thank his fans.

"Thanks for all the support everyone," Romo tweeted, adding on Instagram, "Thanks for everything cowboy nation."

Romo, who turns 37 this month, fractured his back last August and spent most of the season in rehabilitation only to find his place taken by Prescott, who led the Cowboys to the playoffs.

Romo is the Cowboys' all-time leader with 34,183 passing yards and 248 touchdowns but has not played a full season since 2012 due to injuries, missing 21 games over the past two seasons.

"We wish Tony and his family nothing but the best," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said in a statement. "As an organization, we did what he asked us to do in terms of his release, and we wanted to do what was ultimately in his best interest and in the best interest of his family.

"Tony has been a wonderful representative of the Cowboys organization for 14 years, and he left everything he had on the field," Jones continued.

"He will leave us with many great memories and a legacy of being, truly, one of the greatest players in Cowboys history. We are thrilled for him and his family that he will be able to continue working as a professional in the game he so dearly loves."

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett echoed Jones' sentiments, complementing Romo for competing "to the end in everything that he does."

"That relentless spirit that Tony plays with is contagious," Garrett said in a statement. "He makes his teammates better. He makes his coaches better. He makes his team better. He has grown so much as a player and as a person over the course of his career and has made a significant impact on the lives of so many.

"I consider myself fortunate to be at the top of that list. It has been one of the great privileges of my life to work with Tony Romo, one of the greatest players in Dallas Cowboys history."