Gil LeBreton

Cowboys are Jerry’s team and don’t you forget it

Owner Jerry Jones says he expects Tony Romo to be the Cowboys’ quarterback for “four or five” more years.
Owner Jerry Jones says he expects Tony Romo to be the Cowboys’ quarterback for “four or five” more years. AP

To Jerry Jones, at age 73, there is no telling what “four or five years” means on the big calendar.

But clearly, Owner Jones intends to live long enough to see quarterback Tony Romo return the Dallas Cowboys to the Super Bowl.

For this very reason, plus Tony’s bloated contract, I have long referred to Romo’s status as “quarterback for life.”

Not Romo’s life. Jerry’s.

Never mind, therefore, the two back surgeries. The three broken clavicles. Or the scantiness of Romo’s career postseason ledger.

He really has excellent skills, relative to where his skill set began.

Jerry Jones on quarterback Tony Romo

“Four to five,” Jones assessed on his weekly radio show on KRLD/105.3 FM “Four to five years.”

Jerry was giving his glass-half-full answer to Star-Telegram colleague Mac Engel’s question about Romo’s expected shelf life.

“Even with those injuries?” the radio show’s Kevin Hageland interrupted, somewhat comically.

Jerry responded with the usual spin about Romo being a late-bloomer.

“He started late,” the owner said.

This is not a damn debate, guys. This is not a debate we’re having here.

Jones when challenge on his radio show about Romo being able to play four or five more years.

Clearly ignoring Thursday’s three interceptions in the first half, Jones elaborated with a curiously phrased case for Romo’s allegedly undiminished skills.

“He really has excellent skills, relative to where his skill set began,” he told the show.

Ah, the old Once a Jedi, Always a Jedi argument.

But when Mac seemed to try to make sure he had heard Jerry correctly about the “four or five years” thing, Owner Jones suddenly played the Boss Hog card.

“This is not a damn debate, guys,” Jones said. “This is not a debate we’re having here.”

His flagship station, his show, his franchise, his quarterback, Owner Jones was saying.

And though he properly hedged his “debate” remark by noting, “You asked my opinion,” the brief sound bite quickly echoed throughout the hallways of the Internet.

People, even Cowboys fans, love to hear Jerry Jones say wacky things. Fans feed off of his passion. The media wakes up early on Tuesday mornings to hear his radio interview.

In another line of work, this would be called ambulance chasing. But we love to hear the siren.

Half of those first-round picks don’t work.

Jones on why the Cowboys might not draft a quarterback in the first round.

Owner Jones’ point Tuesday was emphatic, but properly taken. He doesn’t have to be realistic in public. It’s his team.

He probably knows what he’s seeing, that Romo, at 35, seems to be collecting more X-rays than football trophies. Jones has to realize that next time, his team will need a victory-capable quarterback.

What was somewhat alarming Tuesday morning was to hear Jerry’s apparent disinterest in drafting a quarterback in the first round.

“Half of those first-round picks don’t work,” Jones said.

Reading between the lines, it suggests the Cowboys will be content in coming seasons to back up Romo with another veteran and then hope to snag a future quarterback — with coordinator Scott Linehan’s valuable input — in a later round of the draft.

An optimistic plan, perhaps, is better than no plan at all.

Jones’ best line Tuesday turned out to be the one where he described his first No. 1 pick after buying the team in 1989.

“So much for brilliance, drafting Aikman,” Jones quipped.

NFL historians will note that Owner Jones draft think tank hasn’t gotten it right since. Romo was an undrafted free agent. Quincy Carter was drafted by the Cowboys in the second round.

Maybe Romo will last four or five more years. Maybe even Jerry will, too.

I have my opinion. You probably have yours.

But as Owner Jones colorfully reminded us Tuesday, it’s still his show and his team.

Gil LeBreton: 817-390-7697, glebreton@star-telegram.com, @gilebreton

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