The Dallas Cowboys are the latest team under investigation from the league according to ESPN spokesperson Brian McCarthy. National Football League (NFL) officials are looking into why 3-time pro bowl quarterback Tony Romo has not been listed on any Dallas Cowboys’ injury reports with regards to a rib injury. The 12-year pro recently asserted that he has had the injury for almost two months now.
A creditable sport-service believes Romo’s rib injury took place on Oct. 12 of this year while playing against the defending World Champion Seattle Seahawks. During an early drive, Bobby Wagner, a 6’0 241 pound, 3rd year linebacker placed a colossal hit on the 34-year old Romo. He did play the entire game and led his Cowboys to a 30-23 win.
After a massive 41-28 Thursday-night victory against the Chicago Bears, Romo mentioned the broken rib issue to reporters. According to team sources, Romo inadvertently misrepresented his injury. He does not have a broken rib. The rib cartilage is torn.
The Dallas Cowboys organization have not made mention of any rib injury this year on the NFL’s injury report with regards to Romo. However, he is on the report with reference to a back injury he has that is in a week-to-week healing process. Romo’s health has lately become somewhat of a career nemesis, particularly over the past year.
In Dec. 2013, the embattled superstar had to miss a critical last game of the season, which could have taken the Dallas Cowboys record above 0.500 percent to 9-7. Instead the Cowboys closed the season that year with a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, finishing the 2013 season at 8-8. Romo had to sit out the game due to back surgery that to repair a herniated disk.
The NFL’s injury report policy states, “…[any] players with…noteworthy injuries must be [named] on the report. [It does not matter whether] the player takes all reps during practice, or even if the team is [positive] that he [is able] to play in the [next] game.” If the Dallas Cowboys or any other team around the league fails to comply with injury reporting rules, that organization could be placed under a lengthy investigation or served with hefty penalties and fines.
Adversarial views are abound throughout the league regarding its policy on reporting injuries. Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh argues the injury report has no real use. “There is no credence [to] the injury report…it has no value.” The Ravens know firsthand what happens when teams fail to list an injured player. The team was fined $20,000 for failing to list former Raven, safety Ed Reed to their injury report a few seasons ago.
New England Patriots have a unique way of handling the injury report requirement. It is alleged that the Patriots list all its players as questionable on the report and then they blur statuses of players seriously hurt.
Robert Griffin III (RGIII), was said to have suffered a concussion in a contest with the Atlanta Falcons during the 2012 season. After failure to properly report information regarding RGIII’s head injury, the team was fined $20,000.
In 2009, the New York Jets were penalized with fines totaling $125,000 after the organization failed to list Brett Favre on the injury report. The former NFL iron-man later divulged that he played the last month of the 2008 season with a ruptured biceps tendon on his throwing arm.
Although playing hurt is a reality in professional football, the NFL is cracking down on injury omissions. Romo has suffered rib injuries similar to the one he currently has. One was in season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles in 2008. During a week 2 win against the San Francisco 49ers in 2011, Romo played with a punctured lung and a broken rib.
Romo also confessed to reporters on Thursday night following the win over the Bears, “The fractures are [just about] healed and the ribs [are] better too.” It’ll be nice when [it is] just about the back [surgery] instead of all [that] other junk.”
For now, Romo wears additional protection for his ribs and he has a lengthier-than-average plate-pad protecting his surgically doctored back. Romo and the Dallas Cowboys’ next game will be Dec.14 on the road against the division leading Philadelphia Eagles.
Player injuries have become a serious focal in the NFL thereby causing the league to mandate stronger policies on how injuries are reported. The NFL’s investigation of the Dallas Cowboys under these stiffer policies will determine if the Dallas Cowboys will be penalized for withholding information about Romo’s rib injury.
By D’wayne Stanelli
Image courtesy of Ted Kerwin – Flickr License