Still, the quarterback defends his decision to vacation with Simpson in Mexico

By Darla Atlas Kate Stroup
January 14, 2008 07:30 AM
LM Otero/AP; Dave Einsel/Getty

Did the “Jessica Jinx” strike again? Not according to quarterback Tony Romo and his teammates, who said the razzing about Simpson is done with, despite the 21-17 beating the Dallas Cowboys took Sunday.

Romo – who faced widespread criticism for jetting off to Los Cabos, Mexico, last week with new girlfriend Jessica Simpson – lost to the New York Giants Sunday night in a second-round playoff upset.

After the game, Romo – who had a mediocre outing, completing just half of his passes and throwing a last-second interception – had no choice but to address the controversy, labeled “Cancungate” in the Dallas press.

Asked if he’s worried about the fan reaction, Romo said no, insisting, “I’m comfortable in my own skin . . . and strong enough in my faith.”

The Pro Bowler, 27, also defended his decision to spend a few days with Simpson, and some of his fellow teammates, during his off week. “I thought I was making a good decision by not going to Vegas and drinking for two or three days,” he explained.

(Simpson, who was accused by some Dallas diehards of distracting Romo from the stands during his Dec. 16 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, announced last week she would not be attending the game. “She’ll be watching [on TV] and cheering,” her rep told the New York Post.)

Dallas’s star receiver, Terrell Owens – who previously joked that Simpson, 27, was “not a fan favorite” thanks to her effect on the young quarterback’s play – defended Romo in a teary post-game outburst.

“You guys can point the finger at him and talk about the vacation, but if you do that, it’s really unfair,” he said, his voice shaking as he continued: “We lost as a team. We lost as a team.”

Still, Romo seemed to be taking the defeat personally. “It hurts, you know,” he admitted. “Remembering all of the things you do to put yourself in the position to succeed. . . . When you don’t come through, especially if you’re in the quarterback position, it’s a really tough pill to swallow. It really is.”

On the upside, now he’ll have more time for vacationing. Hear that, Jess?

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