Dallas Cowboys

Signing LSU lineman La’el Collins extends Tony Romo’s window of opportunity

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo will have a lot of protection from the line, including Thursday’s addition of undrafted free agent tackle La’el Collins of LSU.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo will have a lot of protection from the line, including Thursday’s addition of undrafted free agent tackle La’el Collins of LSU. Star-Telegram

Tony Romo might be the player most excited about the addition of La’el Collins.

Romo was among those recruiting Collins at Jerry Jones’ home on Wednesday night, knowing the significance it could mean for the team by building what he hopes to be an all-time great offensive line.

That, in turn, figures to keep Romo’s window of winning a championship open longer too.

Romo turned 35 last month and most believed he had two or three more realistic shots to win a title considering his surgically-repaired back. Now, Romo believes he has a five-year window left in his playing career.

That’s what Jones recalled from a conversation they had Wednesday.

“Tony … couldn’t get him out of the house last night,” Jones said. “He was so excited with [Jason] Witten and all morning long when we were meeting, doing our business, he was calling all the time, ‘What’s going on? What’s going on?’

“He said last night, ‘I plan on playing five more years. What we’re putting together here will allow me to do it.’”

Romo is arguably coming off his best season. He set career-highs with a 113.2 quarterback rating and 69.9 completion percentage, throwing 34 touchdowns to nine interceptions.

Romo missed one game, though, fracturing two transverse process in his back against Washington in Week 8. He sat out Week 9 against Arizona, a loss, but returned to lead the Cowboys to win six of their final seven games in the regular-season to clinch the NFC East title.

Romo was sacked 29 times in the regular season, and the goal is for that number to dwindle even more with Collins joining an already talented group.

Collins certainly came away impressed in his meeting with Romo.

“The impression he made on me was simple – he is the leader of this team,” Collins said. “He is the guy people expect to go out and play great. He is a guy people hold to a high expectation level. He is a guy of great character and a guy filled with all the right things.

“I want to learn from him. I want to take in everything this guy has to offer.”

Hardy hearing set

According to reports, the NFL has appointed Harold Henderson to hear Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy's appeal of a 10-game suspension. The hearing is scheduled for May 28.

Hardy was given the stiff penalty after the NFL concluded he violated the NFL's personal-conduct policy multiple times in a May 2014 incident that brought domestic violence charges against him.

The charges were eventually dropped, but the language of the policy allows commissioner Roger Goodell to hand down punishment regardless of the legal process.

And Henderson doesn't seem to bode well in Hardy's quest for a reduced penalty. He is the same person who upheld the NFL's decision to suspend Adrian Peterson for a child-abuse case brought against the 2012 MVP.

Drew Davison, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @drewdavison

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