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Jon Kitna signs with Cowboys, will donate salary to his high school

Kitna will make $53,000 for one-week cameo in Dallas
12/26/2013 8:38 AM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Jon Kitna spent 2009-11, his final three NFL seasons, with the Cowboys.(AP)
After working out several quarterbacks early in the week, the Dallas Cowboys signed 41-year-old quarterback Jon Kitna out of retirement on Tuesday night, with Kitna to serve as Kyle Orton’s backup if starter Tony Romo is unable to play in Sunday’s night season finale against Philadelphia.

It was a nice Christmas gift for Kitna, who will receive a $53,000 payday for the potential cameo – but in the true spirit of Christmas, the quarterback announced Thursday that he will donate that salary to his alma mater, Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Wash., where he has taught math and coached football since retiring from the NFL after the 2011 season.

Kitna’s team, the Lincoln Abes, finished 8-2 in 2013, with sophomore Jordan Kitna following in his dad’s footsteps as the starting quarterback. The elder Kitna was available for an NFL return with his school on holiday break, but there is no word yet on his status beyond Week 17 should the Cowboys win Sunday night to claim the NFC East title and a berth in the postseason.

Ex-Giant David Carr and Fordham alum John Skelton were among the signal-callers the Cowboys worked out on Monday and Tuesday, but the team decided on Kitna – who said he texted head coach Jason Garrett Tuesday morning to let him know he’d be interested in returning and then spoke at length with Garrett on the phone – because of his familiarity with the offense.

“I told Jason if he wants me or somebody to come in and call a play and be able to pull a play off if a bad situation happened, I would be willing to do that,” Kitna told the Dallas Morning News Wednesday.

Kitna, who played 16 NFL seasons for four teams, was with Cowboys from 2009-11 and made nine starts in place of an injured Romo in 2010. He has remained active on the field while coaching at Lincoln, though, as Garrett told the media Wednesday that the ex-retiree has been running the scout team for his high school squad over the last couple of seasons.

“He said he would run scout team for the high school team and give them a really good look like he gave us great looks when he was here,” Garrett said. “So he’s a very active guy.”

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