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July 30, 2012

Romo entering his 10th year in NFL, but he says it feels more like 5 1/2 and he's still improving

Tony Romo is entering his 10th year in the NFL, but it sure doesn’t seem like that long to him.

“I didn’t play for the first three-and-a-half. I missed basically a full season in another one,” he said Monday in his first chat with reporters at training camp. “So I guess I’ve only played five, five-and-a-half seasons of football, and it kind of feels like that. But 10 is definitely a bigger number.”

He said he remembers his first training camp in San Antonio in 2003, when he was undrafted rookie out of Eastern Illinois.

“All I knew is I had to make this throw in this play to try and make the team,” he said. “At that time, it was all about trying to digest the information, trying to learning the offense, trying to do what the coaches wanted me to do. Get yelled at, come back, yelled at some more and try and just get better, really.”

Romo said he wanted to make the team, of course, but more than that.

“My goal in the beginning, obviously, was to be part of the Dallas Cowboys,” he said. “But all of these guys who are out here, that’s not they’re ultimate goal. It’s not just to make the team. They want to play. They’re competitors. I was a competitor. I like to compete. If you have the ability and you work hard enough, you’ll achieve your potential. If you don’t do one of those things, then you’re only going to be so good. I just think you take that approach day in and day out.”

Asked where he has improved in his 10 years, Romo said he couldn’t pick out one thing.

“I mean honestly, there’s a million,” he said. “It’d be laughable if I went back in ’06 or ’07, ’08, ’09, the way I was then and compare it to the way I’m growing as a football player. Obviously through experiences and the decision-making, but I’m just talking technically. It’s way different just the ability to throw a football, and that’s exciting to know that you keep improving and the stuff that you’re working on carries over. Some of the funnest days for me are getting a chance to go out here to practice to work on the things that I’ve decided in the offseason to implement on my own, and come out and see if they’re going to hold up under the pressure of 11-on-11. When it does, it’s a darn good feeling to know that you can see another sign of improvement.”

Romo was asked if he might like the way he looked in 2007, when the Cowboys went 13-3 in the regular season.

“Just because you go by wins and losses sometimes doesn’t always dictate how you’re playing individually, and I know that,” he said. “At my position, it’s very easy to look at that and say that’s what matters most, because it does. That’s ultimately what we’re judged on, and that’s ultimately what I want to be judged by. But at the same token, that doesn’t necessarily mean you were better then than you are now. So I think that it’s a world of difference, believe me.”

-- Carlos Mendez

Twitter @calexmendez

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