Romo can't escape spotlight

If the spotlight wasn't squarely fixed on Tony Romo heading into what is being billed as a crossroad season in 2009, news of his recent breakup with celebrity girlfriend Jessica Simpson brought new attention to the Cowboys' much-maligned quarterback.

Few have questioned Romo's talent. At least not since he replaced Drew Bledsoe and became the team's starting quarterback and rock star-like sensation.

Romomania was everywhere and he backed it up with record-breaking statistics and a celebrity lifestyle.

Along the way, however, Romo's celebrity status and numbers began to ring hollow.

Instead of becoming the next Roger Staubach or Troy Aikman with Super Bowl rings on their resume, he is starting to look like the next Danny White, a quarterback who could never get the Cowboys over the hump despite all of his glossy individual numbers.

With a combined 5-10 career record in December and January, including two first-round losses in the playoffs, Romo is starting to get the label of not being able to win the big game.

His legacy is on the line in 2009.

The Cowboys have done everything they could to set Romo up for success, leading to the team's decision to release controversial receiver Terrell Owens, a problem in the huddle and the locker room depending on whose opinion is heard.

But alas, the biggest move of the offseason might actually be Romo's decision to remove what has been perceived as an off-the-field distraction in the form of celebrity companion Simpson.

Of course, there was no way to know if the relationship had any bearing whatsoever on his play on the field. Even so, there are people who looked at his high-profile relationship as another example of his all glitz, no substance football career.

She's gone and in the mind of Cowboys' fans, so are any excuses for Romo not to finally put it all together in 2009.

CAMP CALENDAR: Players report to camp in San Antonio July 28. The first practice is July 29. Camp ends Aug. 19.

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