Romo did not initially receive an invitation to attend the 2003 NFL Combine, but received a late invitation to attend as an extra quarterback to throw passes to other prospects during drills. Despite intriguing some scouts, he went undrafted by any NFL team during the 2003 NFL Draft. Throughout the draft, Romo was assured by Sean Payton of the Cowboys' interest (Romo was also intensely pursued by Denver Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan), and shortly afterwards was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Cowboys. Romo entered the 2003 training camp third on the Cowboys' depth chart behind Quincy Carter and Chad Hutchinson. In 2004, the Cowboys released Hutchinson and signed veteran quarterback Vinny Testaverde and traded a third-round draft pick to the Houston Texans for quarterback Drew Henson. Romo faced being cut from the roster until Carter was released following allegations of substance abuse. Throughout 2004 and 2005, Romo served as the holder for placekicks. After Vinny Testaverde's tenure in Dallas ended in 2005, the Cowboys signed veteran quarterback Drew Bledsoe, the team's eighth starting quarterback since 2000.