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Miles Austin returns to Valley Ranch

It looks like Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo had some inside knowledge when he predicted Friday on Dallas-Fort Worth's ESPN 103.3 that his pal Miles Austin would soon show up for voluntary offseason workouts. Austin, a restricted free agent, has returned from Los Angeles and joined his teammates at Valley Ranch, according to ESPNDallas.com's Calvin Watkins.

"Miles will be back and around," Romo told us Friday. "It's like anything, it's all part of the business side of things that happens once and a while."

Romo sounded nonchalant about Austin's absence, but I think he probably had a different tone when he called his friend. He first found out that Austin had some special traits during offseason workouts just like these. And I'm sure Romo impressed upon Austin the importance of being an example for young receivers such as Kevin Ogletree.

Heading into the '07 season, Romo was wondering when the Cowboys would take care of him with a long-term contract. He'd replaced Drew Bledose six games into the '06 season and led the Cowboys to the playoffs. Owner Jerry Jones hedged his bet by waiting to see how his young quarterback responded at the start of '07.

Romo had an unbelievable start to the season and soon signed a contract that included $30 million in guaranteed money. If he'd agreed to what the Cowboys offered before the season, I suspect it would have been about $15 million guaranteed.

I'm sure Austin looks at how much Roy Williams is making ($13 million guaranteed this season) and wonders why he's making $10 million less. But if he goes out and has another huge season in 2010, Jones will take good care of him. For now, I think Austin's made the right decision to show up for offseason workouts.

He's sent his message. Now it's time to start building on his breakout season.