NFL

Jason Witten is Ending His NFL Career Where it all Started

Longtime tight end Jason Witten has helped change how people look at the NFL’s tight end position. Being one of the better pass catchers, every quarterback wanted Jason Witten as a tight end. He is the definition of a security blanket, making himself open at the most opportune times for quarterbacks. Not to mention his grit is unlike any other player in league history.

Many might’ve forgotten Witten was still in the NFL. He was on the Las Vegas Raiders this past season but didn’t contribute much to the team. The veteran tight end only signed a one-year deal, so he could look for another opportunity to play. Witten decided to end his career back where it all started.

Jason Witten retires from the NFL

After 17 seasons in the league, Jason Witten has announced his retirement from the NFL, per ESPN. The Dallas Cowboys used a third-round pick on Witten back in 2003. It may be hindsight, but the Cowboys got themselves quite a steal. Spending 16 of his 17 seasons in Dallas, Witten became a fan favorite because of his work ethic, willingness to get dirty, and passion for the game.

As he walks away from the game of football, Witten will be remembered as one of the greatest all-around tight ends in NFL history. He’s the last of a dying breed in the NFL. Tight ends that could be just as effective blocking as they are catching passes. His reliability as a receiver can’t be overstated, as he is in the upper echelon of pass-catching tight ends.

“As I hang it up, I walk away knowing that for 17 seasons, I gave it my absolute all. I am proud of my accomplishments as a football player on the field and the example I tried to set off of it. Football is a great game that has taught me many valuable lessons, and I look forward to passing on that knowledge to the next generation,” said Witten, per ESPN.

Even though he didn’t contribute much on the field in 2020, coach John Gruden often praised Witten for his leadership and mentorship to younger players. His one-year contract with the Raiders will expire in March. He’ll be signing one more contract before officially ending his NFL career.

The Cowboys are signing Witten to a one-day contract

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Being a Cowboy for the majority of his football career, Jason Witten wants to retire as one. According to ESPN, he intends to sign a one-day contract with Dallas once his contract with the Raiders expires. If the Cowboys approve of this (which they should), it would be a classy move for one of the team’s all-time great players.

Witten holds some of Dallas’ receiving records, which is saying something given the Hall of Fame receivers that have worn that uniform. Witten is the franchise leader in receptions (1,215) and yards (12,977).  His 72 touchdown catches rank second-most in Dallas franchise history. Something else that made Witten stand out from the rest is his toughness.

In 17 seasons, Witten missed only one game, coming in his rookie season because of a broken jaw. Since then, he’s showed up for every game, which is remarkable given the punishment Witten was subjected to throughout his career. He holds the Cowboys’ record with 245 consecutive starts. No tight end has played in more games than Witten, who played in 271 games.

Retiring with the team who started it all is the perfect ending for Witten. He gave everything he had to the franchise for 16 seasons. He personifies what a Cowboy player is and will be in their ring of honor in the near future. 

What are Jason Witten’s plans after football?

With his football career officially over, what is next for Jason Witten? He is 38-years old, so the options are endless for him. This isn’t his first rodeo with retirement. He retired in 2018 for a season before returning to the Cowboys. It seems like Witten is retiring for good this time.

One potential option for Witten could be coaching. He has always been one of the veterans younger players could go to for advice. It was mentioned how John Gruden loved how he mentored and helped his younger teammates during the season. His name has been linked to numerous NFL and collegiate coaching opportunities, according to ESPN.

Another option for Witten is returning to the broadcast booth. Witten was a color analyst for ESPN’s Monday Night Football program when he was in retirement. He wasn’t the best commentator, often making mistakes on air. Maybe he should talk to Greg Olsen and Drew Brees, as both have analyst jobs after retirement.

Jason Witten will be a Hall of Famer when he is eligible in February 2026. He has the fourth-most receptions in NFL history and is now the mold for what a tight end should be in the league. His incredible career will come full circle, retiring with the team that gave him a chance to be great.