Wit­ten could set record on Sun­day


Austin American-Statesman - - C SPORTS - Con­tin­ued from C

end record of 102 in a sea­son. Wit­ten could get it Sun­day at home against New Or­leans (6-8).

“You know, we talked about him say­ing, ‘I’m play­ing in that Giants game,’ af­ter he had the lac­er­ated spleen, and I’m think­ing to my­self, ‘This guy’s crazy,’” Gar­rett said. “He wasn’t quite him­self for prob­a­bly three or four weeks af­ter that. I think we all saw that. And then for him to kind of, ‘OK, I’m feel­ing bet­ter now’ and get back to what he’s been do­ing, I think he’s had a re­mark­able year.”

Wit­ten turned 30 in May, and once he made it through that opener against New York, it was easy to for­get about the in­jury as he stum­bled through two more games and reached Week 4 with five drops, four penal­ties and eight catches. Too old al­ready? Hall of Fame ca­reer near­ing an end?

Hardly. In the past 11 games, he has 89 catches for 847 yards and two touch­downs, in­clud­ing his first scor­ing hookup with Tony Romo in last week­end’s 27-24 over­time win against Pitts­burgh that put the Cow­boys (8-6) in con­trol of their play­off fate with two games left.

Wit­ten re­set his fran­chise record with 18 catches in a loss to the Giants in Oc­to­ber, and a week later broke Michael Irvin’s ca­reer Cow­boys record of 750 re­cep­tions. With 793 catches, Wit­ten is likely this year to join Gon­za­lez and Shan­non Sharpe as the only tight ends with 800, and he’s third be­hind those two with 8,832 yards. Gon­za­lez set the sin­gle-sea­son mark for catches in 2004.

“I have so much re­spect for the game and this po­si­tion,” Wit­ten said. “To be able to be even think­ing about pass­ing that kind of record that’s stood the course for al­most 10 years by the great­est tight end that ever played, to break that, no ques­tion it’s spe­cial. I think you’re more proud of the body of work over the course of 10 years than you are just one sea­son.”

The Cow­boys were just happy to have him on the field against the Giants, so some balky play and two catches for 10 yards didn’t faze any­one. He four had catches against the Seahawks, but had the same num­ber of drops, then two catches again, this time for just 8 yards, against Tampa Bay.

Wit­ten fi­nally broke loose with 13 catches for 112 yards and a garbage­time touch­down from Kyle Orton in a blowout loss to the Bears.

“I’ve never thought, ‘Well, I’m about to ta­per off here, let’s see if I can hang on,’” Wit­ten said. “It gets higher ev­ery year. And go­ing into this year, that’s what it was.”

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