Cowboys' Witten retires, joins ESPN broadcast booth

Jason Witten at the 2018 Pro Bowl

Jason Witten at the 2018 Pro Bowl

Dallas Cowboys star tight end Jason Witten has made a decision to call it a career after 15 seasons so he can join the Monday Night Football booth at ESPN.

Since Witten took a week to mull things over, that gave Jerry Jones some extra time to come up with the flawless retirement gift, and let's just say the Cowboys owner didn't disappoint.

The Dallas Cowboys drafted Witten out of the University of Tennessee in the third round of the 2003 NFL Draft (69th pick overall). During that 15-year span, Witten only missed one game: a single DNP during his rookie season.

Witten is fourth all-time in National Football League history for pass receptions and is only the second tight end in history to have more than 12,000 receiving yards, according to ESPN. "He knows we're a much better football team with him than without him". He started 229 of the 239 games he played, almost 96% of Dallas Cowboys games since 2003. At the same time, we're going to be so supportive of him if he decides it's time to make a change in his career path.

The best part? The Cowboys were leading 35-10 at the time and could've easily milked the clock if Witten just settled for a mere 20-yard catch for a first down.

Cornerback Williams James assisted on the hit, tearing Witten's helmet from his head.

While Witten is the only Dallas player with 1,000 catches (1,152), his career was defined more by durability and toughness than flashy stats. The sure-handed Witten also owns a cornucopia of team records, including most career receptions, most career receiving yards and most consecutive seasons with a reception, among others. He trails Dez Bryant, who was released last month with 73 TDs, and Hall of Famer Bob Hayes (71).

Dallas tight ends now include Rico Gathers, Blake Jarwin and Geoff Swaim.

This day was always coming soon for the Cowboys. Dallas drafted Stanford's Dalton Schultz in the fourth round last week. "And when you're young, I think it takes on a meaning that when your opportunity comes, grab it".

If Witten had played for the Cowboys, his base salary would have been $1.05 million, with incentives that could come close to doubling that.

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