(The Sports Xchange) - Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is officially a backup and said on Tuesday that rookie Dak Prescott deserves to be the starter for the 8-1 team.
Romo made the declaration while reading from a five-minute statement at the Cowboys' facility. He didn't take questions and said it was in "the best interests of my team" not to do so.
The 36-year-old Romo is now recovered from an August back injury that opened the door for Prescott to become the starter. The Mississippi State product has taken advantage of the situation and led Dallas to the best record in the NFL through nine games.
"He has earned the right to be our quarterback," Romo said. "As hard as that is for me to say, he's earned that right. He has guided our team to an 8-1 record and that's hard to do.
"If you think for a second I don't want to be out there, then you probably never felt the pure ecstasy of competing and winning."
Romo appeared emotional at times during his statement and reflected on different parts of his career.
He bemoaned not being able to play on what he called the best Cowboys' team during his 14-season tenure and emphasized that he is going to be fully supportive of Prescott.
"I think you all know something magical is happening to our team," Romo said. "I'm not going to allow this situation to negatively affect Dak or this football team by becoming a constant distraction.
"I think Dak knows that I have his back and I think I know that he has mine.
"Ultimately, it's about the team."
Romo, who has been plagued by injuries in recent seasons, suffered a compression fracture in his back on Aug. 25 when taking a hit from Seattle Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril.
Dallas didn't place Romo on injured reserve in case he made a swift recovery. But the back didn't heal as rapidly as either Romo or the team would have liked.
It was a painful situation both physically and emotionally for Romo.
"To say the first half of this season has been emotional would be a huge understatement," Romo said. "Getting hurt when you feel like you have the best team you've ever had was a soul-crushing moment for me.
"To then learn it's not three or four weeks but 10 is another blow. And throughout it all, you have a tremendous amount of guilt on having let your teammates, fans and organization down.
"After all, they are depending on you to bring them a championship. That's what quarterbacks are supposed to do. That's how we're judged. I love that. I still do."
(Editing by Frank Pingue)