Cowboys reach deal to bring back Kitna, 41

Updated: December 24, 2013, 10:38 PM ET

Todd Archer |

IRVING, Texas — With Tony Romo ailing, the Dallas Cowboys have reached into their recent past by agreeing to a deal with veteran Jon Kitna.

The 41-year-old Kitna will join the Cowboys in time for practice Christmas Day, pending a physical, the team confirmed on its website Tuesday night.

Kitna last played for the Cowboys in 2011 and then retired. He has been teaching and coaching high school football in Tacoma, Wash.

The Cowboys have not ruled out Romo from playing Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, despite a back injury. However, sources have told ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen that Romo will not play this season and needs back surgery.

Sources said Romo had an epidural injection on Monday, and the hope is it quells the back troubles enough for him to be able to play.

Kyle Orton will start if Romo can’t play.

The Cowboys worked out David Carr, John Skelton, Tyler Thigpen, Caleb Hanie and Richard Bartel on Tuesday, but elected to go with Kitna, who knows the Cowboys’ offense and most of their personnel, but has been out of the NFL for two seasons.

In 15 seasons with the Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Cincinnati Bengals and Seattle Seahawks, Kitna started 124 games, throwing for 29,745 yards with 169 touchdowns and 165 interceptions. He started nine games for the Cowboys in 2010 after Romo suffered a broken collarbone and threw for 2,365 yards with 16 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions.

The Cowboys needed to sign a quarterback to at least get through practice with Romo hurt. They have not had an extra QB since losing Alex Tanney off the practice squad last month.

To make room for Kitna, the Cowboys released receiver/returner Micheal Spurlock, who had a 62-yard punt return Sunday against the Washington Redskins.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

  • Covered NFL since 1997, Cowboys since 2003
  • Previously covered Bengals and Dolphins
  • Lives in Dallas area with his wife and two children

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