Nov 17, 2016 5:21 PM

Jerry Jones: Demoted Romo still has future with Cowboys

The Associated Press

FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Tony Romo's future in Dallas isn't really a question in the mind of Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones.

Even though the 36-year-old quarterback has lost his starting job to rookie Dak Prescott, the idea of him moving on in the offseason is "not a consideration," according to Jones.

Two days after Romo conceded the No. 1 job to Prescott in what some viewed as a farewell speech , Jones said Thursday it was "not a goodbye." The Dallas owner believes Romo is still capable of leading a team to the Super Bowl, perhaps even the Cowboys.

"I think Tony has got five years left of really competing for a Super Bowl," Jones said . "I believe Tony will be the quarterback on a Super Bowl team. I believe that strongly. We're talking generic now, and I have no plans for him not to be part of the Dallas Cowboys. Not a consideration."

While Romo was sidelined by a back injury sustained in a preseason game, Prescott led Dallas to eight straight wins, tying a franchise season mark, and the best record in the NFL at 8-1. The Cowboys host Baltimore (5-4) on Sunday.

Asked if Romo still had the motivation to be ready if called upon after 10 years as the starter, Jones said he viewed Romo's heartfelt statement as a signal that was ready.

"What you saw the other day in my mind was him turning it on," Jones said. "He is vested completely in being a part of a winning team. He wants to do any and everything he can do. The old adage is if we asked him to be the water boy, he wants to drown them with the water."

The Cowboys are trying to get Romo more work in practice as the backup than they did Mark Sanchez, who is now the third-stringer. Romo has played just four games in the past 14 months.

But part of the reason Dallas won't have an open competition at quarterback in the middle of the season is the importance of making sure Prescott gets enough repetitions.

"You split reps and it's really hard," offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said. "When you're in a position where we are, we've won eight games in a row, you start to break up some of that. You risk that with the rhythm of the team. It really has nothing to do with the ability of the player."

At the same time, Jones wants to make sure Romo gets enough work.

"I really don't want to sit here and think that we got two quarterbacks ready to play and one of them not be ready because he didn't take some snaps out there," Jones said. "I think in this particular case you can't afford not to have Tony ready."

Jones, who gave Romo the first $100 million contract in franchise history and stuck with him through many disappointments over the past decade, said it wasn't difficult to tell Romo he would have to be the backup.

"I just have to really pinch myself we are in that shape with Dak Prescott playing at his level and Tony Romo healthy and ready to go," Jones said. "He is competing. He is getting the snaps. The team is getting used to him. He's getting ready to play."

Notes: Jones said linebacker Rolando McClain is in shape to play but will likely remain on the reserve-did not report list next week when he is eligible to return from a 10-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. Jones didn't rule out McClain playing this season. "Rolando is really somebody who helped us when he was here, but I really don't want to get into when or if he might be joining us," Jones said. "Yes, he does want to play, but there is more detail that I'm not going to get into right now."

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For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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Follow Schuyler Dixon on Twitter at https://twitter.com/apschuyler

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