IRVING — Tony Romo hopes to return to practice next month after having a cyst recently removed from his back. And when he does, the Dallas Cowboys quarterback expects to have his teammates backs.We were 8-8 the last couple of years, Romo said Tuesday, the first day of the teams organized team activities. That doesnt sit well with me. I dont think Im an 8-8 quarterback. I dont think this organization is comfortable being 8-8. Were going to do everything we can as coaches, players and in this building to change that.Im going to do everything I can to make sure that doesnt happen again. That just sits there and eats at you. We make choices to do everything that we can to change that.Romo, 33, will miss all of the OTAs after having a minor procedure last month. He began experiencing discomfort in his back, and, after having it examined, had the cyst removed by Dr. Drew Dossett, a spine consultant for the Cowboys.The stitches are out, and the area is healed, but the Cowboys are holding Romo out of the teams voluntary practices as a precaution.Like with all of our players, wed rather have him out there participating than not, but weve always been very cautious this time of year with our players, making sure theyre 100 percent healthy and get them back when theyre ready to go, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. So Tonys going to be out of the OTAs. I think theres a possibility he could participate in the minicamp three or so weeks from now. Hell certainly be ready for training camp.Romo is staying busy with conditioning and weight work. He is doing some lifting and working on his conditioning on the stationary bicycle, elliptical machine and stair stepper. He said he also has done some light jogging.While backup Kyle Orton is taking snaps with the first team in Romos absence, Romo hopes to be back under center for the teams minicamp June 11-13.Itll basically be just seeing how it progresses, Romo said. If they decide to hold me out until the next week, Ill obviously rip up the place inside here. No, it was a joke. I think well just play it by ear and see if I continue to improve.Romo talked for 19 minutes in his first expansive interview session since he signed a six-year, $108 million contract extension March 29. The quarterback, who is entering his seventh full season as a starter, will have a bigger hand in the offense this season.Ive got a great relationship with Jason, Romo said. Hes got a great mind for football. The older you get, you develop that a little bit as a quarterback. If you do some good things in the past that allow you to show then you can have a little more of that. Thats part of the growth that takes shape.Romo is only 17-21 over the past three seasons, and he has one playoff win his career, but the Cowboys have deemed him their franchise quarterback of the present and of the future. They then assured a Romo-friendly offense by spending three high draft picks on offensive players, selecting center Travis Frederick in the first round, tight end Gavin Escobar in the second and receiver Terrance Williams in the third. They also took running back Joseph Randle.Romo plans to prove the Cowboys right.Youre constantly evaluating yourself, and in a leadership role, how to improve and help the football team, Romo said. I think thats definitely the communication that happens between everybody. Thats an important aspect of making sure that things that did happen dont happen again, and I know that thats part of why the coaches are spending so many hours doing what theyre doing, and why the players are working as hard as they are, to ensure that this football team is going to be better and be a different football team than youve seen.
Charean Williams, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @NFLCharean