If you watched any of ESPN’s Monday Night Football games over the last year, you likely saw a few record-setting performances that were called by the uninspiring broadcast booth team of Joe Tessitore, Booger McFarland and Jason Witten. Heading into the 2019 NFL season, that team is going to be getting another makeover once again.
Former Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten announced that he’s leaving the broadcasting booth to make one final run at the Super Bowl title that evaded him during the first 15 seasons of his career. The 36-year-old, 11-time Pro Bowl selection will return to Dallas to chase a Lombardi Trophy alongside the young core of quarterback Dak Prescott, running back Ezekiel Elliott and wide receiver Amari Cooper.
In a statement released by the Cowboys, Witten said the “fire inside of me” wasn’t out just yet, and the man with the fourth-most career receptions (1,152) in NFL history will wear his iconic No. 82 Dallas Cowboys jersey for a 16th season.
“The fire inside of me to compete and play this game is just burning too strong. This team has a great group of rising young stars, and I want to help them make a run at a championship. This was completely my decision, and I am very comfortable with it. I’m looking forward to getting back in the dirt.”
— Jason Witten, via Dallas Cowboys
Back in March 2017, Witten signed a four-year contract extension to keep him in Dallas through the 2021 season. The Cowboys placed him on the NFL’s Reserve/Retired List, which helped them retain the rights to the future Hall of Famer should he make a triumphant return just like this.
The four-time NFL All-Pro and 2012 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year caught everything thrown his way, racked up 12,448 receiving yards (21st all time) and caught 68 touchdowns (tied for 47th all time) through his first 15 seasons, all of which are Cowboys franchise records.
Not too shabby for a third-round pick in the 2003 NFL Draft.
Witten, who will turn 37 years old in May, isn’t what he used to be, but the veteran is going to bring a much-needed safety net to Dallas’ offense as tight end is one of the Cowboys’ weakest positions on an all-around solid roster. Geoff Swaim is the incumbent starter, while Blake Jarwin, Rico Gathers and Dalton Schultz all started games at some point last season for head coach Jason Garrett.
Don’t expect another 1,000-yard season out of the veteran from the University of Tennessee, but you can definitely prepare for some a few classic moments from one of the NFL’s greatest tight ends to ever strap on a helmet before he’s enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.