Garrett should let Romo play HOF game

OXNARD, Calif. -- A brief interview Cowboys coach Jason Garrett had with a reporter from the flagship radio station turned into a national story Saturday.

It appears Garrett told the website of KRLD-FM that Tony Romo might not play in the preseason opener against the Miami Dolphins next week in Canton, Ohio.

"It's one of those deals where I suppose he could play five plays or whatever, but we might lean to no plays," Garrett told KRLD-FM. "But the clock starts on our 'ones' [first-teamers] in Week 2 of the preseason. So that's not going to be Tony's game."

Garrett was asked about it Saturday morning after the walk-through practice and acted surprised about the question.

"We really haven't had any discussions about our playing rotation in that first game, the Hall of Fame game, up there next week," Garrett told reporters in the news conference. "We'll have those discussions next week. It is a bonus preseason game, so that's when we'll have those discussions. I don't anticipate our players playing that much, and that's typically been the progression that we've had in the preseason. We haven't had those talks, though."

But sources close to the quarterback told ESPNDallas' Todd Archer that Romo wants to play in the preseason opener.

Romo should play in the preseason opener, but it comes with a risk.

In the preseason opener last season at Oakland, tight end Jason Witten suffered a lacerated spleen after taking a hard hit. Witten missed the rest of the preseason but was eventually ready for the regular season.

All this drama with Witten's health was a result of what happened in the preseason.

The Cowboys don't want Romo in the same situation, but it reminds me of one thing: Football players play football. Every time a player hits the field, it comes with a risk. In 2010, injuries forced inexperienced tackle Robert Brewster to become a starter for a preseason game against the San Diego Chargers.

Some fans and media members wanted the Cowboys not to play Romo in that game for fear he would get hurt.

Romo played and didn't get hurt.

Of course, with this being the preseason, you don't want Romo and other starters getting long stretches that put them at risk. The Cowboys have too much riding on their season to have DeMarcus Ware, DeMarco Murray, Sean Lee, Brandon Carr, Dez Bryant, Bruce Carter, Miles Austin, Romo or Witten get hurt in a preseason game.

You do want this quarterback, who has missed the entire offseason because of his recovery from minor back surgery, playing a little bit.

But not playing at all wouldn't be right.

"I don't want to get into the hypotheticals," Garrett said. "We'll talk about how each of our 90 players will play in that game next week."

When the talk happens, Romo should play.