OXNARD, CA (KTRE) - The saying 'you don't know what you have until it's gone,' rang true for Dallas Cowboys' Tony Romo last year. Love him or hate him, the proof is in the pudding.
While he battled through a broken collarbone, without Romo the Cowboys went 1-11, but with Romo in the four games he played, they went 3-1.
Now entering his 14th training camp at a whopping 36-years-old, Romo seems more motivated than ever.
"If anything, we get more excited each year to come back, play and prove yourself. You know what you expect out of yourself and then you have to go on and do it," said Romo. "There is a reward in proving it to yourself, fans and also your teammates."
Entering his 10th full season as the starting quarterback, Romo is the Cowboys all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns. The signal caller has won nearly 80 regular season games, but you get the sense that his 6-6 postseason record drives him to be better.
"Every year you walk in, you feel like it's the most important season you are going to play. It feels that way again this year. It's why you do everything you can to be at your best," said Romo. "I know I love to compete. I love to be as good as I can be. There's a challenge in that every day and every year. You got to go accomplish your goals as a team and that's what we're trying to do."
You can question his ability to win big games, and maybe that will change in the later part of his career, but there is no doubt number nine is the heart and soul of the Cowboys.
"He is the leader of our football team. I think when he wasn't out there, you see that even though those other guys did a great job," said veteran tight end Jason Witten. "He brings the energy. He sets the tempo for our group and I think he is very excited and motivated. He is working on his craft day in and day out."
"Anytime you got a guy that smart at the helm, he is our general. He is our leader. We go as he goes. He is looking great out here right now," said wide receiver Devin Street.
"He loves to play. Tony is a great competitor. He loves this game. He loves to practice this game. He loves being in as a competitor. He loves being in competitive situations on the practice field and obviously come game time," said head coach Jason Garrett.
Romo currently has the third highest passer rating in NFL history. However, staying healthy for a full season has been his biggest struggle as of late and now the pressure is on for Romo to stay on the field. Backup quarterback Kellen Moore broke his fibula in practice Tuesday night and will be out for an unknown extended period of time.