Cowboys notes: Tony Romo cleared for team’s first practice on Sunday

Posted Thursday, Jul. 18, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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The Dallas Cowboys will open practice Sunday with Tony Romo under center. Romo returns after having a cyst removed from his back, a procedure that kept him on the sideline during the team’s off-season practices.

“He feels good. He looks good,” owner Jerry Jones said Thursday during the team’s free coaching clinic at Cowboys Stadium. “He’s uniquely out running mountains right now in the West, so he’s getting himself physically in shape. He’s never thrown a lot in the off-season at all. This has always been a time that he wanted to rest his arm. I know his weight is right and feel he’ll be in shape and ready to go.”

Dr. Drew Dossett, a spine specialist for the Cowboys, removed the cyst from Romo’s back in April. Backup Kyle Orton took the first-team snaps while Romo rehabbed from the surgery.

Romo, 33, started some light throwing on the side during the Cowboys’ final minicamp practice last month. He said then that he would be ready to go for training camp.

“We believe Tony will be ready to play,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “It seems like he’s in good shape. … He’s getting himself ready to go. A lot of different guys have different training techniques getting themselves ready for training camp. Tony works very hard. He’s worked very hard in his rehab coming back from the microprocedure that he had in the spring. He’s excited and ready to go.”

Romo, 17-21 over the past three seasons, signed a six-year, $108 million contract extension March 29.

No fullback

The Cowboys’ release of fullback Lawrence Vickers wasn’t as much about clearing salary-cap space as it was changing the direction of their offense. With Vickers sidelined after back surgery, Dallas spent the off-season working without a fullback.

The Cowboys found they like what they have in their tight ends. Jason Witten, Gavin Escobar and James Hanna are the top three at the position, with Dante Rosario and Colin Cochart competing for the fourth spot. Rosario has experience as an H-back.

“That’s the way we operated throughout the off-season when Lawrence wasn’t available to us because of an injury,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “We just liked how it looked and how it felt. There’s no guarantee that we’ll continue in that mode, but we feel good about the four, five, six tight ends we have on our roster right now, how they can compete and how the whole thing looked. So we’ll play that out through training camp and make the best decision for our team.”

Vickers had been scheduled to make $1.2 million in 2013, giving the Cowboys some $10 million in salary-cap space.

Some players limited

The Cowboys expect to have some players limited at the start of training camp. Defensive end DeMarcus Ware (shoulder), defensive tackle Jay Ratliff (hernia), offensive guard Mackenzy Bernadeau (shoulder) and receiver Danny Coale (knee) are among those who might not be fully cleared.

“We’ll just have to monitor those guys,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “There are a couple of guys we’ll just see how they are. We’ll do the conditioning test on Day 1 of training camp and see where they are physically after that and make some decisions. We have a plan for each of those guys going into it based on what their injury has been and different start dates for some guys, different ways to work back into training camp and work back into football.”

Charean Williams, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @NFLCharean

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