• NFL

High school coach Kitna to turn out for Dallas Cowboys

Todd Archer
December 26, 2013 « LeBron wins AP Male Athlete of the Year | Chartbeat test »
Kitna previously turned out for the Cowboys between 2009 and 2011 © Getty Images
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On Tuesday, Jon Kitna sent Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett a text message saying he was ready if he needed him. By Tuesday night Kitna had a deal to join the Cowboys.

Garrett's first reaction to the text message was, "Are you serious?"

"He said, 'Absolutely.' He was excited about it," Garrett said. "He spoke to his family about it, and it just made sense to us."

Kitna has been teaching maths and coaching the American football team at Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Washington, since leaving the Cowboys following the 2011 season in part because of a herniated disk, the same injury that is troubling Tony Romo and required the Cowboys to sign a backup.

Garrett asked Kitna what kind of condition he was in and gave the quarterback a 30-minute window to make a decision. Kitna, 41, talked with his family and the decision was easy to make.

"It's not like I have been sitting around trying to stay in shape hoping I get another shot. My career is done. I was happy with that," Kitna said. "I just knew the situation that they were in. Being down here, I felt like I might be able to help in an emergency situation, just be able to, the functionality of running a play in the NFL. So I just felt like if he thought it was worth a shot I would be willing to do it."

That the Cowboys run the same offense with many of the same players that played with Kitna from 2009 to 2011 - like Jason Witten, DeMarco Murray, Dez Bryant and Miles Austin - helped ease Kitna's mind and the Cowboys' concerns.

"The learning the new guys would have to have in a short period of time to be able to function, we felt this was the best decision for us," Garrett said. "You want a guy who has been playing all year long. But with the options available to us we felt Kitna gives us the best chance."

But Kitna has no visions of grandeur.

"Again, Lord willing I never get to see the football field and Kyle plays awesome," Kitna said.

Kitna plans to donate the $53,000 he will earn from the match to Lincoln High School.

This article originally appeared on ESPN.com

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