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Jon Kitna, Dallas Cowboys strike contract

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport had reported that the Dallas Cowboys worked out David Carr, Tyler Thigpen, John Skelton and Caleb Hanie, only to send all four free-agent quarterbacks home without a contract.

Now we know why.

A person informed of the deal told Rapoport the Cowboys are signing Jon Kitna to function as the third quarterback, behind Kyle Orton and an injured Tony Romo.

The Cowboys announced Wednesday they officially had signed Kitna.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram first reported Dallas' interest in bringing back Kitna, who hasn't attempted an NFL pass since September of 2011.

Citing a lingering back injury, Kitna announced his retirement in early 2012 after 15 NFL seasons. Last we heard from him in May of that year, Kitna was teaching math at a Tacoma high school.

Although he's a rusty 41-year-old, Kitna does make sense as an insurance policy in the sense that he knows Jason Garrett's offense after spending two seasons in Dallas.

Foreshadowing his signing, Kitna discussed the expectations of an emergency quarterback on Tuesday's edition of NFL Network's "NFL AM."

"I mean it's just like anything else throughout 15, 16 years -- you do have to be ready," Kitna explained. "You do have to know everything that the starter knows. All that is head knowledge. You obviously don't get the chance to go out there and rep it in practice throughout the week and obviously not playing on Sundays, but you're expected to be ready."

The coaching staff is still holding out slim hope that Romo will play in a win-and-in season finale versus the Eagles. If Romo can't go and Orton exits with injury, the Cowboys' best puncher's chance will be turning to a quarterback familiar with the personnel and the playbook.

The Chicago Bears pulled their top-notch backup out of high school last year. We can't blame the Cowboys for traveling the same route with the season on the line.

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