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Romo eager to change his Cowboys legacy

The SportsXchange

IRVING, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo talked to the media on Tuesday for the first time since the 2012 season ended with a loss in the final winner-take-all game for the division title against the Washington Redskins.

It was also the first time he spoke to the media since inking a $108 million contract extension, since owner Jerry Jones said he was going to now have Peyton Manning-type influence and input in the offense and since he had minor surgery to remove a cyst from his back that will keep him sidelined possibly until training camp.

He will miss OTAs but is hopeful to return for the final minicamp in June, though that is not certain.

Romo insists the surgery was no big deal and that he will still get plenty of mental reps. He also said he will ask his receivers to spend time with him after minicamp so they can all get on the same page before training camp.

Romo downplayed any talk that his role has changed because of the new contract, even though Jones was the one who insisted it had. Romo echoed coach Jason Garrett in saying that things should increase with age and time in a system.

"Well, I think just through experience, the older you get as a football player and a quarterback, I think you gain a little bit of an understanding about the game and how you can almost develop through experience over time," Romo said. "For me, I believe in some things that I think can help us win football games. You have great communication with the coaches. We all talk about things and we go from there. Everyone is just trying to help the football team win."

Romo however did acknowledge he will be doing more work in the office with the coaches on Mondays and Tuesdays than in the past, a la Manning.

"I think it's just, for (Jones), that was more along the lines of probably talking about the fact that (Manning) works directly with the coaches," Romo said.

"Me just having the communication with the coaches, it's valuable for us, and I've always had that. That's been an important aspect of any relationship with offensive coordinator and quarterback. I've got a great relationship with Jason (Garrett). He's got a great mind for football.

"The older you get, you develop that a little bit as a quarterback. If you do some good things in the past, then that allows you to show that you can have a little more of that. That's part of the growth that takes shape. I know the difference in the quotes sometimes get misconstrued in the sense that Jerry just knows that I'll be in there doing some of the things that I don't think you would do normally."

What Romo stressed is that he wants to do whatever it takes to change his legacy of late as a mediocre quarterback who can't win big games. The Cowboys have a 21-27 record since 2009. That was the last year they made the playoffs and when Romo won the only playoff game of his career -- the first for the team since 1996.

The Cowboys went 5-11 in 2010, when Romo missed much of the season with an injury. They have gone 8-8 in each of the last two seasons when Romo was fully healthy.

"We were 8-8 the last couple of years; that doesn't sit well with me," Romo said. "I don't think I'm an 8-8 quarterback. I don't think this organization is comfortable being 8-8. We're going to do everything we can as coaches, players and in this building to change that. I'm going to do everything I can to make sure that doesn't happen again. That just sits there and eats at you. We make choices to do everything that we can to change that.

"That's the approach you take in an offseason. Really every offseason, but it's there, staring us in the face right now. We're going to exhaust everything to make sure this football team gets better to take the next step."

Romo said becoming a winner in Dallas is why he never thought of playing anywhere else during his contract negotiations.

"For me, I wanted to end my career here with the Dallas Cowboys and achieve what we started," Romo said. "Now it's obviously been some good times and some times that we've had some rough spots. In a lot of ways I know that this team is continuing to get better, and using those experiences to be better, and it's going to be good."
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