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Dallas Cowboys: Farewell, Jason Witten

04 May, 2018, 13:02 | Author: Sylvester Abbott
  • Jason Witten at the 2018 Pro Bowl

Last week, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported that Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten planned to retire from the NFL to join ESPN's Monday Night Football broadcast booth but meant to talk things over with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones before making a final decision.

"The hardest part of this decision is knowing that I'd never be able to hand you that Lombardi Trophy", Witten said to longtime owner Jerry Jones. He played all 16 games for the Cowboys last season but tallied just 560 receiving yards, his lowest total since his rookie season in 2003.

Witten, a 11-time Pro Bowler retires with franchise records of 1,152 catches and 12,448 yards.

But Witten found an offer that was too good to pass up as the lead analyst for ESPN's Monday Night Football, in calling it a career.

When Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen auditioned for the role, he wound up leveraging the job interview into a new two-year deal with the Panthers. He never wanted the fame and attention that came with being a chiseled superstar on the most recognizable team in American sports.

The news reportedly came as a surprise to the Cowboys, who ultimately drafted a tight end in the fourth round of this past weekend's draft. He doesn't want to lobby Witten to the point where he feels pressured or gets the idea the Jones family isn't in his corner if he decides to end his playing career.

"The best memory of him I think in everyone's mind I think is when his helmet got ripped off and he's running down the field", said Eric Connor.

This is a big absence in Witten's career, but he has accomplished everything else aside from that, which makes him a sure-fire Pro Football Hall of Famer.

Witten, who turns 36 this coming Sunday, leaves the game with 1,152 catches, the fourth-highest number in National Football League history-behind Jerry Rice, Tony Gonzalez and Larry Fitzgerald. It's truly a different era of the Cowboys, one that's unlikely to see a player of the same ilk as Witten.

For Witten, the opportunity to follow in those footsteps became an easier decision than chasing a Super Bowl for another season. Among the tight ends left behind, only one has a catch in a regular-season game: Geoff Swaim with nine over three seasons.

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