It was believed that the season was over for Tony Romo once he re-injured his collarbone against the Carolina Panthers. With a 3-8 record and a nearly but not quite nonexistent chance to make the playoffs, the assumption was that the Dallas Cowboys would place him on injured reserve while Matt Cassel played out the string.
Well, you know what they say about assuming.
The Cowboys have elected to keep Romo on the active roster for the time being. Based on his recovery from his first injury of this season, he could be available late in the playoffs.
Of course that is an extremely long shot. And "extreme" is an understatement of staggering proportions. It would take an historically epic run to accomplish - at least if this was not the NFC East, where the remainder of the division is displaying almost as much ineptitude as the Cowboys. If they did manage to accomplish the highly improbable feat of getting into the playoffs after the horrendous start to the season and then stayed alive long enough for Romo to still be eligible, that would mean Matt Cassel would have to deserve at least a part of the credit for them getting there, likely a significant part. It is not clear just how wise it would be to pull him for Romo, who showed some pretty obvious rust when he played against the Panthers.
But he still represents one more option for the team, and it is clear that the team is not giving up any chance to win, no matter how remote those chances may be. As noted in the article linked above, there is precedent.
In 2010, when Romo suffered a broken left collarbone in a Week 7 loss to the Giants, the Cowboys did not put him on injured reserve until Dec. 22 with two games to play and a 5-9 record.
Whatever you may think about Jason Garrett as head coach, you have to concede that he concedes nothing until the last possible door is slammed shut. It is admirable and pointless at the same time.
But it is the way things are done in Dallas, and many, probably most other teams would likely do the same. There is really no need to free the roster spot Romo occupies. Of course, there is almost certainly no real reason to keep him around, either. It is a sad comment on the 2015 season how meaningless these moves are.