Dallas Cowboys: Jason Witten is retiring, his legacy, repercussions
After 15 seasons in the NFL, Dallas Cowboys stalwart tight end and future Hall of Famer Jason Witten has decided to retire in order to join Monday Night Football.
Country music legend George Strait said it best: “It’s time to say goodbye to yesterday. This is where the Cowboy rides away.” The Dallas Cowboys are saying goodbye to one of the greatest players in their franchise history today.
According to several reports, after a prestigious 15-year career in the NFL, Cowboys tight end Jason Witten has decided to retire from football in order to pursue a career in the media. Witten will be accepting the role of color analyst for ESPN’s Monday Night Football.
At 35-years old, Witten leaves the Cowboys as it’s all-time receptions leader (1,152), all-time leader in receiving yardage (12,448) and third all-time in receiving touchdowns scored (68). He has the fourth highest number of recorded catches in NFL history.
Maybe even more impressive is the fact Witten missed only one game during his entire 15-year career, and that was back during his rookie season in 2003.
The 11-time Pro Bowler, four-time All-Pro and Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award winner is a shoo-in to become a first ballot Hall of Famer and Cowboys Ring of Honor inductee. Witten will go down as one of the greatest tight ends in league history.
Although the accolades for Witten are just beginning, and all much deserved, the Cowboys themselves must now face the difficult task of replacing his production. More importantly, his presence in their locker room.
More than ever, the mantle of leadership falls squarely on the shoulders of third-year quarterback Dak Prescott. Although there are other leaders on this team as well, most notably veteran linebacker Sean Lee, Prescott was named a captain by his teammates last season in only his second year. Clearly, Dallas needs their franchise quarterback under center to lead this team on and off-the-field.
Outside of his strong locker room presence, the Cowboys will have a hard time replacing Witten’s production too. Even in his 15th season, the legendary tight end posted 63 catches for 560 yards and five scores while also being one of the best blocking tight ends in the NFL and being named to the Pro Bowl.
Over the weekend, the Cowboys added rookies Dalton Schultz and David Wells to a depth chart that already featured young talent in Geoff Swaim, Blake Jarwin and Rico Gathers. The biggest issue with this group is their severe lack of experience. I wouldn’t be surprised if Dallas didn’t look to free agency to find themselves a veteran as a bridge player. Maybe someone like this free agent tight end.
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Jason Witten will go down in history as one of the greatest football players ever to lace them up. For Dallas Cowboys fans, it’s a bittersweet ending for a legendary tight end and a new chapter for a legendary human being.