Position: Right Tackle
Size: 6'8, 320
Age: 32, 10/8/78
College: Boston College
Drafted: Round 1, #29 - 2002
Experience: 9 seasons
Salary History and Contract Status: 2010: $2m Bonus + $2.14m base salary - 12/8/2008: Signed a five-year, $22.605 million contract. The deal includes $8 million guaranteed. Another $3.5 million is available through playing-time incentives. 2011: $1.9 million, 2012: $2.7 million, 2013: $4 million (Voidable Years>>>), 2014: $4.8 million, 2015: $5.6 million, 2016: Free Agent
Pre-2010: When the Chicago Bears draft Colombo out of Boston College, they thought that one of their tackle spots was squared away for years to come. Unfortunately, injuries never allowed him to develop in Chicago. An injury to his knee in 2002 caused him to miss all of 2003 and most of 2004. By the time 2005 arrived, Colombo had tried the Bears patience and he was released early in 2005. In 4 years in Chicago, the Bears received 7 starts from Colombo for that 1st Round money. In mid-2005, the Cowboys grabbed Colombo and simply planned to stash him until camp in 2006. Once training camp arrived, Colombo won the job from 2005 rookie starter Rob Petitti (who was released out of camp) and then started the next 57 consecutive games at Right Tackle. Solid, dependable, and with a harsh disposition, Colombo nailed down that spot and the Cowboys hardly ever worried about him. But, in Week 10 of 2009, Colombo suffered yet another injury as he suffered a broken left fibula and missed 7 weeks. Rushed back for the playoffs, he never returned to his previous form and had a very difficult day against Ray Edwards in Minnesota for the playoffs.
2010: Colombo allowed a team high 7 sacks and never looked himself throughout all of 2010. He was back at training camp with the hopes that whatever wasn't quite right in the 2009 playoffs had healed, but in the preseason, it was pretty clear he just couldn't pass protect with the same agility that he was known for. In Mid-August, he had his knee scoped again, causing him to miss the remainder of the preseason and Week 1 in Washington. He never missed a snap from game 2-16, but his results were not close to what we remember from Colombo. A player who conceded just 1 sack in 2009 before the injury was being beat to the edge quite a bit. After the Tennessee game, it appeared the coaching staff had taken the help they had ear-marked for Doug Free and given much of it to Colombo. Week 16 was the last straw with many fans as Darnell Dockett and Calais Campbell had no real issues getting around Colombo to Jon Kitna. ProFootballFocus.com had Colombo graded as the worst pass protector in the OL AND the worst run blocker in the OL. Not a great combination. That website also had him ranked as #76 of all qualifying 78 tackles. Chicago's J'Marcus Webb and Arizona's Levi Brown were the 2 who did worse. Sam Monson of PFF.com offered this: "Colombo just wasn't at the races in 2010. I'm sure injuries have played a role, and with his age it's tough to see a road back for him, but in terms of play out on the field he was right there at the bottom of the rankings".
2011 Analysis: It is believed that the Cowboys realize they need to look for a replacement at RT. Whether they bring Colombo back to fight for his spot at his reasonable cap number might depend on what they think they can find in this most uncertain of off-seasons. I hesitate to completely assume that a career of injuries have caught up to him because I feel that he played on 1 leg for the entire season out of sheer toughness and dedication to his team. However, this is a harsh business built on performance, and there is no question that if Colombo is going to continue his NFL career, he has to convince those watching his work that his drop-off this season was because his left leg was never fixed properly and not the reality that he is now in his 30's and wear and tear has taken away his gifts. It would not be shocking to see the Cowboys release him in the months to follow.