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Tony Romo says Cowboys cut him to let him keep bonus money

Tony Romo could be reportedly retiring from the Cowboys to force his release.

The Cowboys did Tony Romo a big favor when they released him today.

By cutting Romo, rather than placing him on the NFL’s reserve/retired list, the Cowboys gave Romo the freedom to change his mind about retirement and sign with any team at any time. Romo says he’s committed to broadcasting and is done playing, but many players have said they were done only to get the itch to play again. Romo can, and he doesn’t need the Cowboys’ permission now.

But Romo said on a CBS conference call today that the Cowboys were doing him a different kind of favor by cutting him: Romo said the reason he asked the Cowboys to cut him was so that he wouldn’t be obligated to pay back a portion of his signing bonus. If he had retired, the Cowboys could have forced him to pay back $5 million in previously paid bonus money. Romo says Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was doing him a kindness with the roster transaction.

“I’ve never had a better boss or mentor than Jerry Jones,” Romo said.

It’s still possible that Romo could make Jones regret that kindness by signing on with another team, and helping that team beat the Cowboys. But Romo insists he’s done, and Jones apparently believes him, and is willing to give him a $5 million farewell gift.