Gil LeBreton

Surgery won’t turn Tony Romo into Cowboys’ Benjamin Button

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo will soon undergo a surgical procedure to insert a plate and screws in his left shoulder.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo will soon undergo a surgical procedure to insert a plate and screws in his left shoulder. Star-Telegram

In the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, the title character is born with the unique affliction of growing younger in his passing years, not older.

Abandoned at birth, old and wrinkly, Benjamin survives and keeps getting younger and younger, until one day the poor sap looks just like Brad Pitt, who also happens to play the lead role.

But it’s only a movie. In real life, people don’t get younger and younger, especially when they have NFL defensive linemen chasing them and falling on their collarbones.

In real life, there is no Curious Case of Tony Romo, no matter how many NFL forevers he thinks he has left.

Romo reportedly reaffirmed Saturday his plan to quarterback the Dallas Cowboys for four more years or, at the least, he too looks just like Brad Pitt.

As Romo told our buddy Jon Machota in the Dallas Morning News, “I feel like the joke is ... as everyone else is getting older, I’m getting younger.

“I think next year you’ll see a little bit different Dallas Cowboys team.”

Yeah. A year older. All of them. Including the starting quarterback.

And yet, as Star-Telegram colleague Drew Davison confirmed Sunday, it appears certain that Romo will soon undergo a surgical procedure to insert a plate and screws in his left shoulder.

The plate, so the story goes, will make the shoulder stronger on the odd chance that a 280-pound pass rusher with ill intent will piledrive Romo into the hard turf. Romo, apparently no longer thinking he’s Superman, will now settle for Iron Man.

Recovery after this latest procedure is said to be 6-8 weeks. But that’s what the online sites say. A more reasonable prognosis is that Romo’s thrice-broken clavicle, even with its new Iron Man rebar, should not be jackhammered to the ground for at least six months.

So do the math. That would be August before Romo can play in his next football game. And here the Cowboys go again, with Romo practicing only sporadically, missing exhibition games and nursing himself along before his next major injury.

Romo turns 36 years old in April, which means 33 and 34 are gone. Give it up, Tony.

A CT scan this week is expected to confirm Romo’s apparent feeling that surgery is the prudent option.

“We’ve had exhaustive discussions about it,” Romo said. “But it’s going to be good. It’s just about being there for your teammates and making sure.

“If I play, I know what I mean to our team. I just need to do everything in my power to ensure that I’m on that football field.”

No arguments there. Romo’s absence was painfully evident in the Cowboys’ 4-12 season.

Just as evident, however, is that the time is past due for Owner Jones to plan for life without Tony Romo.

Since Romo became the starter during the 2006 season, he hasn’t faced any competition for the No. 1 job. Maybe he never will. But if he thinks he’s timeless, indestructible and irreplaceable, Romo had better keep his eyes alert when he’s in the pocket.

Late in the first game of the 2015 season, Romo was slammed from behind, and he admitted that the ensuing soreness reminded him of all his previous back woes. He altered his practice schedule accordingly, and then broke the collarbone the next week. He sat out eight weeks, and then again broke the clavicle in his second game back.

The metal plate might be collarbone insurance, of sorts. But here’s a hint for Romo: It won’t make you Brad Pitt.

That Romo thinks he’s getting “younger” is ... well ... curious.

Gil LeBreton: 817-390-7697, glebreton@, @gilebreton

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