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On December 19, 2002, Romo became the first player in Eastern Illinois and Ohio Valley Conference history to win the Walter Payton Award, given annually to the top Division I-AA football player.
He finished his career holding school and conference records with 85 touchdown passes.
Elevated to the Cowboys' second quarterback in 2005, Romo had strong showings in the 20 pre-seasons.
In the 2006 off-season, Sean Payton (now head coach of the New Orleans Saints), offered a third-round draft pick for Romo, but Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones refused, asking for no less than a second-round draft pick.
Romo entered the 2003 training camp third on the Cowboys' depth chart behind Quincy Carter and Chad Hutchinson.
In 2004, the Cowboys released Hutchinson and signed veteran quarterback Vinny Testaverde and traded a third-round draft pick to the Houston Texans for quarterback Drew Henson.
He also held a higher passer rating in the fourth quarter than any other NFL quarterback from 2006 to 2013. Romo's paternal grandfather, Ramiro Romo Sr., emigrated from Múzquiz, Coahuila, Mexico, to San Antonio, Texas, as an adolescent.
This was second in conference and third in school history for a season.
Serving as the team's primary starter from 2006 to 2015, he guided the Cowboys to four postseason appearances and was named to the Pro Bowl four times.