Albuquerque Journal

Longtime Cowboy Witten calls it quits

Tight end played 16 of his 17 seasons with Dallas

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DALLAS — Jason Witten says he is retiring again, apparently for good this time.

The longtime Dallas Cowboys tight end who spent his final season with the Las Vegas Raiders in 2020 told ESPN on Wednesday that he was walking away “knowing that for 17 seasons I gave it my absolute all.”

Witten, 38, retired the first time after the 2017 season with Dallas to become an analyst for ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.”

Witten said he started having second thoughts early in his TV tenure, and he returned for a club-record 16th year with Dallas in 2019, when he thought the Cowboys were good enough to make a run at his first Super Bowl. But the two-time All-Pro never made it past the divisional round.

Witten is also the franchise leader in games, starts, catches and yards receiving.

When coach Jason Garrett was let go after the Cowboys missed the playoffs amid high expectatio­ns a year ago, there wasn’t a place on the roster for Witten.

The 11-time Pro Bowler joined several former Dallas teammates with the Raiders and had career lows with 13 catches for 69 yards. But Witten did score twice, giving him 74 career touchdowns.

A third-round pick out of Tennessee in 2003, Witten ended his career fourth on the NFL career list with 1,228 catches. He’s second among tight ends to Tony Gonzalez, who is also the only other tight end with more yards (15,127 to 13,046).

ESPN reported Witten planned to retire as a Cowboy.

“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,” he said.

SUPER BOWL: The NFL has selected three people who have served during the coronaviru­s pandemic as honorary captains for the Super Bowl along with inaugural poet Amanda Gorman for an original poem.

Commission­er Roger Goodell announced Wednesday that educator Trimaine Davis, nurse manager Suzie Dorner and Marine veteran James Martin will take part in the coin toss on Feb. 7 in Tampa, Florida. The trio was picked for embodying the NFL’s message of “It Takes All of Us” this season.

Gorman, the country’s first National Youth Poet Laureate, recited “The Hill We Climb” at the Biden inaugurati­on Jan. 20. She will recite her poem about the trio’s impact before the game.

 ?? LM OTERO/ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE ?? Tight end Jason Witten, who played 17 years in the NFL, including 16 with the Dallas Cowboys, is retiring for the second time.
LM OTERO/ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE Tight end Jason Witten, who played 17 years in the NFL, including 16 with the Dallas Cowboys, is retiring for the second time.

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