By not closing door on a return, Tony Romo has signed up for years of un-retirement rumors

Shutdown Corner

All Tony Romo had to do was say he’s done playing in the NFL. That retirement was final, he’s happy to be the lead NFL analyst for CBS, and that’s that.

But he didn’t.

“You never say never,” Romo said on a conference call Tuesday (via Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News), when asked about a possible return. “I’ll just say it’s about 99 percent.”

And with that statement, Romo made sure there will be years of speculation that he’s coming back to play. Yep, this is going to be Brett Favre all over again. It’ll replace the annual “Jon Gruden will coach (fill in the blank team)” as the most overdone NFL rumor. Prepare yourselves.

Even before Romo left that one percent open, just in case, people were already assuming that this retirement wasn’t for real. Go search, there’s no shortage of “Tony Romo will play again” opinions on social media. Never mind that he just stepped into one of the 10 best jobs in sports broadcasting (maybe that’s underselling it, “top NFL analyst at CBS” could be top five … maybe top three). Bleacher Report even quoted an unnamed AFC general manager saying he thinks there’s a “100 percent” chance Romo comes back and plays, despite his cushy job and oft-repaired and soon-to-be 37-year-old body.

No matter that Romo has good reasons to retire and join CBS, and all but ruled out a return. People seem convinced Romo will play again. And with his “never say never” comment, Romo brought that on himself.

Perhaps he wanted that. In the middle of last season, when it was official he wasn’t getting his job back from Dak Prescott, he said in his memorable press conference that the desire to compete “may burn more now than ever.” It’s hard to walk away from an NFL career, especially when you believe you can still perform at a high level.

“I can play tomorrow,” Romo said Tuesday.

Romo said it was a difficult decision, and nobody would ever doubt that. He praised the Houston Texans, his likely landing spot had he become a free agent and not chosen a new career. He said ultimately the decision “had nothing to do with the Texans. It had everything to do with CBS.” But he knew what his options were. He’ll know what his options are going forward too.

The calls will come. Romo even acknowledged that teams will probably call him when they need a quarterback. The question becomes, does Romo decline every offer?

Romo said there’s a 99 percent chance he’s done. But that one percent that he left out means you definitely haven’t heard the end of people wondering if we’ve seen the last of Romo on a football field.

Tony Romo said “never say never” when asked about a possible return. (AP)
Tony Romo said “never say never” when asked about a possible return. (AP)

More from Shutdown Corner on Tony Romo’s retirement
Tony Romo cut by Cowboys, retires to join broadcast booth
CBS wins bidding war for Romo, makes him analyst on its No. 1 broadcast team
Texans are the main domino to fall in Tony Romo fallout, but there are others
Bonnie Bernstein: ‘Total crap’ that Romo gets No. 1 CBS job with no experience
Is Tony Romo the most overrated and underrated quarterback the NFL has seen?
Jerry Jones, Dak Prescott among those to heap praise on Tony Romo upon his retirement

– – – – – – –

Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

What to Read Next