IRVING, Texas — Tony Romo’s season is over, and the Dallas Cowboys will have to win without their star quarterback in a third straight playoffs-or-bust finale.
Coach Jason Garrett said Romo had back surgery Friday, and Kyle Orton will start when Dallas faces Philadelphia on Sunday night with the NFC East title and a postseason berth on the line.
Garrett said Romo underwent treatment all week in hopes of playing after injuring his back in a season-saving 24-23 victory against Washington. The winning touchdown came after the injury on Romo’s fourth-down pass to DeMarco Murray in the final 2 minutes.
Romo hurt himself when he tripped over his foot while trying to escape pressure earlier in the fourth quarter.
“He might have had his finest hour against the Redskins last week, what he did at the end of that ballgame under the circumstances,” Garrett said. “Pretty special.”
Romo lost the past two winner-take-all finales — to the New York Giants two years ago and Washington last season. He also lost to the Eagles in the same situation in 2008 and now will miss a chance to improve his 1-6 record in elimination games.
“He’s devastated,” Garrett said. “Devastated. He puts a lot into this.”
Philadelphia (9-6) is trying to complete a worst-to-first turnaround from a 4-12 season under first-year coach Chip Kelly. The Cowboys (8-7) want to end a three-year playoff drought and avoid a third 8-8 finish in Garrett’s three full seasons as coach.
Dallas will have to do it without its defensive leader, too.
Linebacker Sean Lee will miss his third straight game with a sprained neck. He’ll wind up sidelined for five of the last six regular-season games. He was out for two with a hamstring injury.
Lee was forced to watch last year’s season-ending loss to the Redskins with a toe injury sustained in the sixth game.
“You have this picture of how the season is going to go and two years in a row, it doesn’t go the right way from a personal standpoint, from a physical standpoint,” Lee said. “I’m just trying to stay positive, trying to help out any way I can, but I hate not being on the football field.”
Orton, who declined to talk to reporters Friday, will make his first start since the finale in 2011, when he finished the season in Kansas City after getting replaced by Tim Tebow in Denver. He’s appeared in three games and thrown just 15 passes in two seasons as Romo’s backup.
Former All-Pro CB Asomugha retires
ALAMEDA, Calif. — Less than three years after being one of the most prized free agents on the open market, Nnamdi Asomugha’s NFL career is over.
Asomugha formally announced his retirement on Friday at the Oakland Raiders’ headquarters, ending his 11-year career at the place he had his most success.
Asomugha made three Pro Bowls and was a two-time first-team All-Pro during his eight seasons with the Raiders when he was considered one of the league’s top cover cornerbacks.
But his career quickly fizzled after signing a $60 million, five-year contract with Philadelphia in the summer of 2011. He was cut after two years with the Eagles and played just three games this season for San Francisco before being released in November.
Buccaneers’ Goldson fined $60K
NEW YORK — Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Dashon Goldson was fined $60,000 by the NFL on Friday for his helmet-to-helmet hit on St. Louis Rams wide receiver Stedman Bailey last Sunday.
The fine is the fourth this season for Goldson. He was fined $30,000 for a hit on the New York Jets’ Jeff Cumberland in Week 1. He had his one-game suspension for a hit on New Orleans’ Darren Sproles the following week overturned but had to pay $100,000.
Goldson was also suspended one game without pay for a hit on Atlanta’s Roddy White last month.
St. Louis linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar was fined $21,000 for a helmet-to-helmet hit. Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson was docked $15,750 for roughing the passer after the league said he “unnecessarily” drove Cleveland quarterback Jason Campbell to the ground, “landing on him with his full weight.” Richardson is appealing the fine.
Buffalo rookie wide receiver Roberts Woods was fined $15,750 for punching Miami safety Reshad Jones in the third quarter of the Bills’ 19-0 win.
By wire sources