With Cowboys' season dire, Tony Romo must resist urge to be hero

Dawkins: Romo's return will give Cowboys a victory over Dolphins (0:54)

On NFL Live OT, ESPN's Brian Dawkins and Greg Schiano analyze the Sunday afternoon matchup between the Cowboys and Dolphins. (0:54)

IRVING, Texas -- Tony Romo pulled a football out of his locker Wednesday afternoon and twirled it in his hands as he headed to another meeting.

"I don't think I've ever played in a meaningless football game," the Dallas Cowboys quarterback said with a smirk. "I don't think this is a good time to start.

"At no point when you play this game do you envision being 2-7. No one thought we'd be in this position and we are. You just have to accept it, understand where we are. From here, it's about winning one game. Winning this week."

Romo, who has sat out the last seven games because of a broken left collarbone, will return to the Cowboys' lineup Sunday afternoon at the Miami Dolphins.

The situation is dire for the Cowboys, who have lost seven consecutive games since Romo was injured. They trail the New York Giants by 2.5 games in the NFC East standings, and no 2-7 team has ever made the playoffs.

Romo on Tuesday morning sent a tweet to his 260,000 followers that let his teammates and the Cowboys' legion of fans know his thoughts about the last two months of the season.

The tweet, a 20-second clip from the movie "Major League," shows one of the players saying, "Well, then I guess there's only one thing left to do. ... Win the whole f---ing thing."

It has been retweeted more than 32,000 times and liked more than 31,000 times.

It was Romo's way of saying forget about the losses. Follow him, the tweet implied, and he'll take the Cowboys where they want to go no matter how unlikely it looks.

"I don't think anyone in this locker room thinks, by any means, this season is over," Romo said. "They understand and I've conveyed that message to them and I think our coach has."

So much of winning in the NFL is about confidence and total belief in a quarterback's ability to make plays at winning time. Few do it better than Romo, who has 29 game-winning drives and 25 fourth-quarter comebacks on his résumé.

During this wretched losing streak, the Cowboys have lost five games by seven points or fewer, including two in overtime. They've blown four halftime leads and three fourth-quarter leads.

Given the Cowboys' situation, Romo must resist the urge to play hero. His presence alone will lift his teammates.

"Do your job. That's a message we share with our players over and over and over again," coach Jason Garrett said. "Sometimes, when you have a great competitive spirit, you want to do more and that's a good thing for your team.

"You want to have guys like that. At the same time, you have to do what you're supposed to do and Tony really understands that balance."

As one would expect, Romo expects it'll take a series or two to adjust to the speed of the game. He also has spent the last couple of weeks working on the nuances of the position, such as his footwork and ball fakes.

"For me, it's about going out and being yourself and being the quarterback of this team," Romo said. "I don't have to do anything more."

The Cowboys' season is now about making history. Can they be the first team to make the playoffs after starting the season 2-7? The raggedy NFC East -- only the Giants are .500 -- gives them a sliver of hope.

But it's not about focusing on the rest of the schedule. It's about the Cowboys, led by Romo, finding a way to beat the Dolphins.

With Romo returning, we now know the Cowboys have no plans to tank the season in hopes of getting a high pick in the 2016 NFL draft. Their quarterback and coach want to win, no matter the odds.

"It's all hands on deck every minute of every day. We're gonna compete and we're gonna scratch and claw and fight," Garrett said. "It's the foundation of our entire program. That's what we believe in.

"Anybody that's available to play and help us win is going to play and help us win. Certainly, Tony believes in that. That's what he's all about and that's what his career is all about. You only have 16 opportunities each season."

Though the Cowboys are in the midst of their longest losing streak in 26 years, Romo's return has his teammates believing there's a lot of important football games left to be played.