National Football League veteran Witten calls time on Cowboys

GETTYDallas Cowboys icon Jason Witten will now be in ESPN's TV studio

FRISCO, Texas - Jason Witten is retiring from the Dallas Cowboys and joining ESPN as an analyst for Monday Night Football, multiple sources told ESPN on Thursday.

Witten is tied with Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Bill Bates and the late Mark Tuinei for most seasons by a Dallas player.

And after suffering his worst season since his rookie year in terms of yards received, with 560, Witten knew it was time to call it a day.

"I was never the most talented".

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Warner may be miffed that the tiebreaker wasn't skill or experience but the fact that Witten played for the Dallas Cowboys.

The Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award was established in 2017 in his honor to reward the Division I college football player who has demonstrated a record of leadership by exhibiting exceptional courage, integrity and sportsmanship both on and off the field. Tennessee Director of Athletics Phillip Fulmer coached Witten at UT and famously had the Elizabethton, Tenn., native switch to tight end during his freshman season after beginning his career as a defensive end. "The stats and the credentials speak for themselves. Over the last 15 years, he's played virtually every play".

And playing behind the durable Witten, he'd managed a paltry nine catches in 28 games over three seasons of work.

This is a big absence in Witten's career, but he has accomplished everything else aside from that, which makes him a sure-fire Pro Football Hall of Famer.

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The question now as Round 2 of the draft got underway on that Friday night seemed to not be if the Cowboys would pick up a tight end, but rather when.

Ultimately, he opted to retire to start a new chapter in his life after one of the most successful runs in Cowboys history.

With Witten walking away, the Cowboys have Schultz, Geoff Swaim, Blake Jarwin and Rico Gathers on the depth chart at tight end.

"It's very hard. I think that's the biggest challenge walking away is that you didn't accomplish the ultimate goal that you set out for", Romo told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram last week. "After much self-reflection, prayer and faith, today I've decided that the time has come for me to pass the torch to the next generation of Dallas Cowboys and retire from the National Football League".

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