IRVING, Texas – Former Seahawk Jon Kitna, who is the football coach and a math teacher at Lincoln High in Tacoma, is having an eventful school break.
Kitna, 41, is close to coming out of NFL retirement to serve as emergency No. 3 quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys because starter Tony Romo is at risk of missing a high-stakes regular-season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Cowboys officials said Tuesday night Kitna would join the team in time for practice Wednesday. The move is pending a physical for Kitna, who retired as a player in January 2012. If he joins the Cowboys, Kitna reportedly would make about $55,000 for the week.
Romo injured his back in a 24-23 victory over Washington on Sunday that set up the Cowboys for their third straight playoffs-or-bust finale against an NFC East rival.
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Romo is getting treatment and being evaluated daily, team officials said. Kyle Orton is Romo’s backup.
Kitna was a Cowboy from 2009 through the 2011 season.
He played in 13 games and was 4-5 as a starter. Kitna’s quarterback rating of 87.3 with Dallas — where he completed 65.5 percent of his passes — was higher than his rating with three other NFL teams.
A standout at Central Washington, Kitna was signed by the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent.
Kitna played in 39 games for Seattle from the 1997 through 2000 seasons and had an 18-15 record as a starter.
As a coach, Kitna guided Lincoln to an 8-2 record this year but the Abes lost to eventual state runner-up Eastside Catholic in the district playoffs. Kitna is 13-7 in two seasons at Lincoln.
Team owner Jerry Jones said the Cowboys (8-7) aren’t ruling Romo out of Sunday’s game against the Eagles (9-6) because doctors could clear him after treating his back injury.
Jones said on his radio show Tuesday his 33-year-old quarterback has proved he can play with pain but won’t if doctors advise against it.
Jones said he had discussions with Romo and doctors Monday.
“If you know Tony, you can’t imagine what a competitor he is, and he doesn’t want to miss a snap,” Jones said. “He was very disappointed, particularly disappointed for his team, repeated over and over again, ‘Jerry, I can’t tell you how badly I feel relative to you and relative to my teammates.’ ”
Romo didn’t miss a game in 2011 after breaking his ribs in Week 2 against San Francisco. He was heavily padded and medicated the next week against Washington and did enough to get the Cowboys an 18-16 victory.
“Tony will play with all the pain,” Jones said. “But his doctor has to clear him.”
If Romo isn’t cleared, Orton will make his first start since the 2011 season finale for Kansas City against Denver, the team that waived him earlier that year after making Tim Tebow the starter.