INDIANAPOLIS -- In past offseasons, Jason Garrett and Tony Romo have attended Duke basketball games together, spending time with coach Mike Krzyzewski and his staff for a few days. They have attended SMU basketball games, as well.
Since the Dallas Cowboys' season ended, Garrett and Romo have not spoken from the days right after the divisional round playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers. Garrett put their lack of communication more on the circumstances of the offseason than a change in their relationship.
"I don't want to comment too much on that," Garrett said. "I haven't spoke to Tony very much this offseason, but I think that has a lot to do with we're coaching the Pro Bowl, a lot of different things we're doing as a coaching staff. He's got a new little baby on the way, so he's busy with that. I know he's continuing to get his rehab done so he can be as healthy as possible going forward. But I have an immense amount of respect for Tony Romo. I've been so fortunate to be around him, to be able to coach him, to develop the relationship that we've had over the last 10 years. I just hold him in the highest regard."
In all likelihood, these are the final weeks of Romo in the Cowboys organization, with Dallas committing to Dak Prescott as their starter and Romo set to count $24.7 million against the cap in 2017. Romo's departure seems to be a matter of when and not if and how, either with a trade or his release.
Romo lost the starting job he had held from Week 7 of the 2006 season until 2016 because of a compression fracture in his back suffered in a preseason game. By the time Romo was healthy, the Cowboys had lost just one game with Prescott under center. Dallas was 8-1 by the time Romo returned to No. 2 duty against the Baltimore Ravens on Nov. 20.
Garrett said the lone conversation he had with Romo since the Green Bay contest dealt with the season.
"Obviously, it was a challenging year for him," Garrett said. "To get hurt and not be a part of the team this year as the starting quarterback, for a guy who is as competitive and as accomplished as he has been, it wasn't easy. But he handled the situation really well, put the team first; when he was able to come back and be healthy, he embraced the role of being the backup and being ready to play if called upon."
Romo has been linked to a number of teams this offseason. Denver Broncos general manager John Elway said his team would be "open to anything," in regard to adding a veteran quarterback. The Houston Texans also could be an option.
Romo has a 15-4 record in his past two seasons. He took just seven snaps in 2016 but threw a touchdown pass to Terrance Williams on his lone drive. He will turn 37 in April and has battled back and collarbone injuries the past two seasons.
"That's been the biggest issue over the last couple of years of just not being available to us because of injury," Garrett said. "It's not because he hasn't worked hard to get himself ready to play. He's certainly done that. He did a good job this year coming back from the injury, getting himself ready to play towards the end of the year. There's no reason to think he can't play at a high level again."