Jason Witten Passes Shannon Sharpe for 2nd-Most TE Receptions in NFL History

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIISeptember 15, 2013

August 17, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Dallas Cowboys Jason Witten (82) before playing against Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys star Jason Witten continued racking up records in a spectacularly steady career in Week 2, passing Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe for the second-most receptions by a tight end in NFL history.

SportsCenter's official Twitter account documented the landmark achievement, and it came on Witten's second catch in the Cowboys' Sunday clash in Arrowhead Stadium with the Kansas City Chiefs:

Witten doesn't have quite the same explosiveness as some of the game's current stars at his position, such as Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots or Jimmy Graham of the New Orleans Saints.

Even Sharpe was a superior athlete in terms of physicality, so Witten's achievements are a testament to the consistent, fundamentally sound approach he has had to the game for what is now over a decade in the league.

Coach Jason Garrett commented on Witten's often ridiculous work ethic, noting that the eight-time Pro Bowler isn't even likely to take plays off in preseason practices, per Darin Gantt of ProFootballTalk:

Getting him to take a day off of practice is a little bit like the Aggie 21 story [in which Witten took offense to not being included in a play]. You start the conversation. He nods his head, he continues to nod his head, and he goes out to practice again and again and again.

The 31-year-old is Dallas quarterback Tony Romo's go-to target when he's in doubt. With all the instability in the Cowboys' receiving corps between Dez Bryant's volatility and Miles Austin's injury issues over the past two years, Witten has been a constant producer.   

What is incredible is that Witten has not missed a single game in any of the past nine seasons at a position that demands him to not only block at times but also go over the middle and absorb heavy contact on the regular.

He's missed only one game in his entire time in the NFL, which makes him an iron man in a league whose acronym is often cited as standing for "Not For Long."

In the Cowboys' Week 1 win over the NFC East rival New York Giants, Witten caught eight passes on nine targets for 70 yards and two touchdowns.

That nose for the end zone is a great early sign in 2013, because although Witten set the record for receptions in a single season by a tight end last season with 110, he only scored three touchdowns.