With Tony Romo's status day to day because of a back ailment, the Dallas Cowboys brought back a name from the past to serve as insurance at the quarterback position: Jon Kitna.
The Cowboys on Wednesday confirmed the signing of Kitna to serve as the team's third quarterback after he passed a team physical.
Dallas coach Jason Garrett told reporters he is still hopeful that Romo will be able to play on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles but added that Romo seemed uncomfortable. Romo did not attend practice or team meetings on Wednesday in order to receive treatment.
"I saw him briefly today, and he's fighting through it," Garrett said. "He's certainly in a situation where he's trying to do everything he can to get himself back with the rehab process and treatment process, like any injured player would. He's a tough guy, as we saw the other day. We'll just see how he does."
To make room for Kitna on the roster, the Cowboys waived kick returner Micheal Spurlock.
The 41-year-old Kitna last played in the NFL in 2011, and he announced his retirement in January 2012 after a 15-year career.
Kyle Orton would start at quarterback for Dallas on Sunday against the Eagles if Romo does not receive medical clearance. Romo reportedly has a herniated disk that will require back surgery.
Garrett said the Cowboys would not risk Romo's long-term health to play Sunday.
"We'll make our best medical decision, and we'll make our best football decision," Garrett said.
Before settling on Kitna, the Cowboys held workouts this week with quarterbacks including Tyler Thigpen, John Skelton, David Carr and Caleb Hanie, multiple media outlets reported.
"When you looked at the landscape of guys who could help on short notice, Kitna was a guy who kind of rose to the top of that," Garrett said. "We have a great history with him.
"He's been a heckuva football player in this league for a long time. He started a lot of games for us, knows this offense, knows this environment. We felt like on short notice he gives us the best chance if he did in fact have to play in this ballgame."
Kitna started his career with the now-defunct Barcelona Dragons of NFL Europe in 1997 and had stints with the Seattle Seahawks, whom he led to the playoffs in 1999 with a 9-7 record, the Cincinnati Bengals and Detroit Lions.
He retired with a 60.3 completion percentage for 29,745 yards, 169 touchdowns, 165 interceptions and a 77.4 passer rating. As a starter, he compiled a 50-74 record.
Since leaving the NFL, Kitna was teaching and coaching in his native Tacoma, Wash. Garrett said Wednesday that Kitna contacted the Cowboys about a tryout.
Garrett was surprised that Kitna wanted to come out of retirement. He asked, "Are you serious?"
Kitna responded, "Absolutely."