After fifteen years in the NFL, Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten is calling it quits.
The NFL lost a legend today. No, he’s not dead. But Jason Witten is leaving the league to join Monday Night Football as an analyst. And NFC East football will never be the same.
For Washington Redskins fans, the news of Witten retiring is a refreshing sight. In an era where it’s become almost impossible to expect what the Cowboys do from year to year, Witten has been the model of consistency, constantly giving teams a threat to account for down the field.
Witten played for fifteen years, all of them with the Dallas Cowboys, and by the end of his tenure, he totaled 1,152 receptions, 12,448 yards, 68 touchdowns, and a whopping eleven Pro Bowl berths. He ends his career fourth all-time in NFL receptions and twenty-first all-time in receiving yards, just behind Washington Redskins great Art Monk.
Witten regularly proved his mettle against his NFC East foes, including the Washington Redskins. While his departure from the NFL is a very welcome sight to Washington Redskins fans, Witten, a seasoned veteran, and the 2012 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year, demands a certain respect that nullifies on-field rivalries.
With Witten gone, the Dallas Cowboys are in a tough spot. The team also lost Dez Bryant this offseason. Those two losses combined could very well account for more than half of the team’s targets last year. Dak Prescott will have an entirely new supporting cast next year in the receiving core. Allen Hurns and Michael Gallup project as the starters at wide receiver, while Rico Gathers and Dalton Schultz are lined up to be the first to attempt replacing Witten. It will be a very tough act to follow.
The loss of Witten, a lone steady constant over so much time, sends the Cowboys’ roster further into disarray. Of all the NFC East teams, the Cowboys seem to be the one most clouded in uncertainty. Mired in mystery. That’s a refreshing change. It’s hard to tell how long it will last.