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News » Kitna's lone focus will be backup role Veteran says he's under no illusion that he could win starting job

Kitna's lone focus will be backup role Veteran says he's under no illusion that he could win starting job

Kitna's lone focus will be backup role Veteran says he's under no illusion that he could win starting job
IRVING - As Tony Romo's new backup, Jon Kitna hopes he never plays a down next season.

Kitna knows that if the backup quarterback is on the field, "that means something bad has happened."

The 12-year veteran with 27,293 career passing yards understands that he's here to back up Romo, not push to become the starter.

The Cowboys hope Kitna, 36, will be ready if called upon. They saw what happened last year when there was no viable alternative.

The season fell apart when Brad Johnson took over for the injured Romo in Week 7. Johnson, 40, was released last week. The Cowboys acquired Kitna in a weekend trade that sent cornerback Anthony Henry to Detroit.

"I'm a competitive person," Kitna said Monday during a conference call. "But they didn't bring me here, and that wasn't intimated to me, that they want me to push [Romo] or anything like that."

One thing Kitna can do immediately is help Romo develop his relationship with receiver Roy Williams, another former Lion. Williams has raved about Kitna. Once Williams goes through an entire off-season in Dallas, he should have more impact, Kitna said.

"Quarterback-receiver relationships are very sensitive type relationships," Kitna said. "If you don't have a chance to work with somebody, and after getting a guy during the season, you can't get that timing and that familiarity.

"After a whole off-season, they're going to be just fine. I just think it will be better for everybody."

Kitna also downplayed a previous dustup with Cowboys linebacker Bradie James. Kitna blasted James during a radio interview after the 2006 regular-season finale - a 39-31 Lions win - saying James was lost in coverage.

The teams met again in December 2007, and James admitted he wanted to get in a clean hit.

But Kitna said he and James talked after that game and cleared the air. Kitna said Monday it was nothing more than a hometown interview that went too far.

"He proved last year that's not true about him," Kitna said of James' coverage skills. "He was a Pro Bowl-caliber player all year last year. I don't suspect there will be any issue. But we already talked about that, so I don't think that's going to be a problem."

Brooking excited: New linebacker Keith Brooking said he feels comfortable playing inside linebacker in Wade Phillips' 3-4 scheme. He should. When Brooking played the "Mo" linebacker spot for Phillips in Atlanta in 2003, the 11-year veteran had the best year of his career.

"Me being an 11-year veteran with all the experience I had, I wouldn't come to a team if I didn't feel 100 percent comfortable in what they wanted me to do in the position I'm going to be playing," Brooking said.

Chargers next for Burnett: Linebacker Kevin Burnett will continue his West Coast swing, visiting with the San Diego Chargers on Wednesday. He met with the Raiders on Monday.

Another linebacker signs: The Cowboys agreed to a one-year deal contract with linebacker Matt Stewart. Stewart, who can play inside or out, was out of Football last year after being cut by Arizona. He missed the 2007 season in Cleveland with a shoulder injury.

Staff writer Todd Archer contributed to this report.

Safety Williams wants Cowboys to act today

Roy Williams wants to know what his future holds immediately, so his agent, Jordan Woy, has asked the Cowboys to either cut or trade the strong safety by today.

The Cowboys have made Williams available for trade but the market has been slow, largely because teams believe the club will eventually release him. Williams is scheduled to count $6.6 million against the 2009 salary cap.

If the Cowboys trade or cut Williams, they will save roughly $2 million against the cap. His 2008 season was cut short by a twice-fractured right forearm that limited him to three games. He finished with nine tackles.

Todd Archer

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 4, 2009

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Quentin Jammer Name: Quentin Jammer
Position: CB
Age: 29
Experience: 7 years
College: Texas
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