OXNARD, Calif. — When Tony Romo has a bad day at work, it’s news.And Jason Garrett, who was once a Dallas Cowboys quarterback himself, ought to know that. When Romo fumbles a field-goal snap, it’s news. When his scatterbrain girlfriend wears a pink jersey to the game, it’s news. When he takes the weekend off to vacation in Cabo, it’s news.When he plays golf, instead of keeping Peyton Manning hours, it’s news.And as the head coach should know, when a story on FoxSportsSouthwest.com said Friday that Romo “may not play in the preseason opener,” jets were scrambled and alarms sounded.Garrett’s reaction Saturday to the volley of questions:Who? Huh? Do what?“We have not had any official conversations yet and have not sat in the meeting room and said, ‘OK, here we go, guys, here’s who’s playing what,’” Garrett assured.If Romo doesn’t take a single snap in next weekend’s preseason opener in Canton, Ohio, Garrett insisted it’s all part of a time-tested training camp plan. “I can tell you that generally, generally, in the first game the starters aren’t going to play a whole lot,” Garrett said. “In the second game, they’re going to play a little more. In the third game, they’re going to play a little more than that. And in the fourth game they’re not going to play a lot.”Move along, he was trying to tell us. There’s nothing to report here.Except it’s Tony Romo. Dimples the Quarterback. At $108 million over six years, the highest-paid player in franchise history.And, as Garrett knows as well as anyone at this training camp, Romo is just three months removed from having surgery for a reported cyst on his back.A cyst. A “micro procedure,” as Garrett himself called it.No one at Cowboys, Inc., has confirmed that Romo was placed under general anesthesia for the operation, but his golf game reportedly did take an extended nap.The Cowboys don’t do anything quietly, of course, even when they grow unsightly lumps. But if it was no big deal, Cowboys fans wonder, why was Romo held out of off-season workouts for six weeks? Why do the coaches seem to be measuring Romo’s workload so closely at this camp?“He’s taken every snap,” Garrett said, tapping the media’s brakes Saturday. “He’s gotten better and better every single day.”But don’t expect Romo, officially or unofficially, to play a down in the Hall of Fame Game exhibition against the Miami Dolphins.There’s no need to, Garrett earnestly explained. For one thing, by playing in the annual Hall of Fame Game, the Cowboys get an extra exhibition contest this August. Rookie football at steak prices, in other words.Expect to see Nick Stephens (of Tarleton State and Flower Mound) and Alex Tanney handle all of the quarterbacking against the Dolphins.And also, alas, expect to see the NBC cameras show Romo, now cyst-free, about 15-20 times on the sideline. That is, if Romo even makes the trip. Why make the 108 Million Dollar Man fly eight hours round-trip to stand on a sideline for three more hours next Sunday night?Move along, though, Garrett kept insisting Saturday. There’s no real story here.Garrett suggested the story was the product of “eavesdropping.” The FoxSportsSouthwest.com report, meanwhile, credited the news of Romo’s impending night off to an “exclusive interview” with the head coach.“I apologize if there’s a disconnect here,” Garrett said.No, there’s nothing disconnected. Unless … hmm … it’s Romo’s back!!!Just kidding. Romo is, after all, 33 years old and a new daddy. He probably can use the rest. If there is a coverup going on, if Romo’s alleged back surgery entailed more than a bothersome cyst, it’s difficult to imagine that Cowboys, Inc., could pull it off.Jerry Jones, for one, would have spilled the beans by now. And wouldn’t somebody, from some doctor’s surgery center somewhere, have already posted Faecbook pictures of Tony Romo’s bare back?In Romo’s case, no news is still, well, news.
Gil LeBreton, 817-390-7697 Twitter: @gilebreton