Dallas Cowboys: Farewell, Jason Witten

Lawrence Cooper
May 4, 2018

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.

ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported during the NFL Draft that Witten, the Cowboys' all-time leader in games played, was a candidate for the job but owner Jerry Jones and coach Jason Garrett were trying to convince him to continue to play. According to the Star-Telegram, Witten played in 15 games during his rookie season and started all 16 games for every season after that.

He ends his National Football League career as second all-time in receptions and receiving yards for a tight end and with the reputation as a role model on and off the field. He trails only Tony Gonzalez for most career receptions and yards by a tight end, and he was one of the best blockers to ever play the position.

Witten, 35, plans to trade his helmet in for a headset in the broadcast booth, joining ESPN's Monday Night Football crew.

Witten probably won't be playing catch with that. The Cowboys sported a 12-4 record and won their division for the first time since 2009, and led for much of the second-round playoff game only to see a crucial catch negated by a now-defunct rule.

Recent news that Jason Witten was considering retirement came as a shock.

Seahawks trade up to select punter Michael Dickson
No kicker came off the board before Dickson, making the Australian the first special teams' player chosen in the draft. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Flowers was the Cowboys' top tackler last season with 79 stops and two interceptions.

In his last two seasons, Witten caught a combined 132 passes for 1,233 yards and 9 touchdowns, with most of those coming from Prescott. He blocked willingly and effectively, and cleared the way for four 1,000-yard rushers (DeMarco Murray did it twice in 2013 and 2014) during his 15-year career in Dallas.

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"There's not always a fairy-tale end", Witten said near the end of last season.

As an individual, Witten surpassed the level of excellence attained by the Cowboys tight ends that preceded him.

"There's an old saying in pro football: The circus doesn't stay in town forever", Witten said, as quoted on NFL.com.

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