He won't play in the Mavericks' final home game of the NBA season, but the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback took part in a team photo and the morning shootaround and will participate in team meetings, early pregame warm-ups and introductions.
Team Photo Time. pic.twitter.com/NsdTJaqdt5— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) April 11, 2017
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban ran the idea by Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones. Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle called Romo, and franchise icon Dirk Nowitzki also sent Romo a text message hoping he would take part in the tribute.
"At first I was just feeling like I didn't deserve any of that," Romo said after the shootaround. "No one does, but at the same time just the honor that the organization -- and Coach and Mark and Dirk -- to just do something like that, it just makes you feel special.
"Standing here today, I feel a little embarrassed, to be honest, in the sense that you're lucky enough to be in a position that someone cares enough to do something to honor you. I'm a lucky guy."
Romo was released by the Cowboys last week, ending a 14-year run with the team that saw him become the franchise leader in touchdown passes and passing yards. He has since joined CBS Sports to become its lead NFL analyst.
In the past week, teammates have taken to social media to praise Romo. The Cowboys put Romo's No. 9 on the digital boards outside of The Star, their new practice facility. The downtown Omni lit up the Dallas skyline with the No. 9 as well.
"It's been overwhelming," Romo said of the reactions he has received over the past week. "I had close to 600 text messages that I'm still working on and then a hundred and something calls and a bunch of other stuff. I guess it just makes you feel like you've accomplished something in some ways, even though I feel like I left something out there that I always wanted to accomplish. And I've got to live with that. That's part of playing sports. It doesn't always go the way you expect. You can put everything into it and sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't. ...
"And so this week has been special in the sense that people have made me feel that they appreciated me, that they enjoyed me playing and being the quarterback and that it meant something to them and they wanted to root for me and they were passionate about it. I can't say thank you enough. It really has been a very special week."
Romo will go through the early pregame shooting drills with the Mavericks and go through the layup line in uniform. He will be introduced to the crowd, and Nowitzki is expected say a few words to honor Romo when he addresses the fans before the game.
Fan appreciation night. Also honoring @tonyromo tonight. Come early and you can watch him shoot some airballs in layup line....— Dirk Nowitzki (@swish41) April 11, 2017
A number of Romo's teammates, as well as Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, are expected to be in attendance.
"I think I'm going to get more street cred being on the bench for the Mavs than actually playing for the Cowboys," Romo said.
Romo, who was a decorated high school basketball player and remains the all-time leading scorer at Burlington (Wisconsin) High School, might even be tempted to get in the game. But the retired quarterback, who turns 37 on April 21, has not signed a contract and realizes his game might not be NBA-ready.
"I'm pretty sure I cannot go and play 10 or 15 minutes," Romo said. "Pretty sure if I did, I'd probably wake up tomorrow feeling a little sore. We don't like that at my age."