Burlington native Tony Romo is calling it quits with his football career to begin a new chapter in the broadcast booth. Romo has shrines all over his hometown.
“The hometown boy, I mean everybody loves him,” said Gloria Christenson.
“He’s a hero to a lot of people,” said Mark Basil.
Inside Fred’s Burgers, his fame only comes second to what’s on the grill. Romo pictures, jerseys, and autographs cover the walls, tables - even the ceiling. His retirement after 13 years in the NFL leaves many of his biggest fans stunned.
“I figured he’d play a couple more years,” said Basil.
Basil has been on ‘Romo watch’ since he was released from the Dallas Cowboys last month.
“I was hoping he’d get picked up by Minnesota because I’m a Vikings fan,” he said.
Romo went from undrafted to the Cowboys all-time passing yards leader. Fan Ted Schmidt said injuries got the best of him.
“I think it was about time really, because of the amount of times he got hurt,” he said.
Romo plans to trade in his helmet for a headset to provide commentary over the airwaves. It’s a decision Gloria Christenson doesn’t mind.
“He’s a handsome guy, he should,” said Christenson.
Romo once walked the halls of Burlington High School. He graduated 19 years ago.
“He’s a big idol,” said student Aaron Sturdevant.
Now those who weren’t even born then look up to him.
“Everyone wants to be him,” said Sturdevant.
Romo holds a summer football camp for Burlington youngsters to give back to the community. Grant Tully has been attending for years.
“Not every town in Wisconsin gets to know a professional athlete like us and it’s pretty cool we get to see him on Sundays,” said Tully.
While Romo might be ready to say goodbye to his playing days, some are hoping he changes his mind.
“Maybe he’ll come back like Favre or something,” said Sturdevant.
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