Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle shook his head about any criticism levied against his organization for having former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo join the team for the home finale on Tuesday.
“None of us care about that,” Carlisle said. “I’ve seen snippets of titles of stuff, but it really is insignificant. This is something that’s coming from the heart. That supersedes anything.”
Carlisle then listed several moments and reasons as to why Romo deserved the recognition the Mavericks were giving him. Romo walked away from football earlier this month as the Cowboys’ leader in passing yards (34,154), passing touchdowns (247), passer rating (97.1), completion percentage (65.3) and most 3,000-yard passing seasons (seven).
Carlisle mentioned specific games such as Romo throwing a touchdown in his only regular-season series last season against Philadelphia.
“This is a guy who has huge credibility as a competitor over just about every sport,” Carlisle said. “He’s played hurt. He’s played with broken bones. He’s gone through multiple collarbone injuries and played and performed. He got out there for one set of downs after he became healthy [last year] and marched the team down the field and threw an unbelievable pass for a touchdown. He’s really done so many legendary things from a competitive standpoint.”
Romo spent the entire day with the Mavs, participating in the morning shootaround and then going through warm-up drills. Every shot Romo took drew a huge ovation from the crowd.
Carlisle praised Romo’s athleticism in describing the shootaround session.
“He participated in our scout team. Did a lot of the team shooting with the guys,” Carlisle said. “He was getting a big kick out of it. It’s pretty clear that he’s a very high-level athlete. I can certainly see why he’s been so successful in multiple sports. Above and beyond all of that, this is a guy that’s truly touched by this gesture. It’s very sincere.
“His heart is warmed by it, as is ours. There is a circus surrounding this because everybody wants to get a glimpse. We understand that. This is how we feel about a special guy who’s been a very special competitor in really a very special sports market.”
Carlisle echoed similar thoughts when he addressed the American Airlines Center crowd before tipoff, as did star Dirk Nowitzki. Romo took the microphone after that, thanking the DFW fans for their support.
“This is an honor I can never dream of, it’s a little embarrassing,” Romo said. “Thank you Dallas. I love you.”