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Jason Witten Officially Announces Retirement from Football

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 3, 2018

Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten announces his retirement from football at the NFL team's training facility and headquarters, Thursday, May 3, 2018, in Frisco, Texas (AP Photo/Richard Rodriguez)
Richard Rodriguez/Associated Press

Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten announced Thursday he has officially retired from the NFL after 15 seasons. 

The NFL shared comments from Witten's press conference confirming his retirement:

NFL @NFL

.@DallasCowboys TE @JasonWitten announces his retirement from the NFL after 15 seasons. #ThankYouWitten https://t.co/Y7ueCR8hu1

ESPN.com's Todd Archer reported Witten plans on joining the network's Monday Night Football broadcast team as an analyst, starting with the 2018 season.

During Thursday's press conference, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones spoke about Witten's impact on the franchise, calling the tight end an inspiration to him and "everybody that's ever said they were a Dallas Cowboy," per the team's official Twitter account:

Dallas Cowboys @dallascowboys

Jerry Jones commenting on the legacy that @JasonWitten is leaving with the #DallasCowboys. #ThankYouWitten #ThankYou82 https://t.co/hPOkz9jdoz

Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett echoed a similar sentiment.

"He's simply the best example I know of, of what you want a football player and a person to be—on and off the field," Garrett said, per David Helman of the Cowboys' official site.

A number of Dallas employees and teammates lined Witten's path as he arrived for his press conference:

Jane Slater @SlaterNFL

Cool moment here at the Star as owner, coaches, teammates and employees line up to say goodbye to Jason Witten #Cowboys https://t.co/bPrgPXEJTw

Noah Bullard @noah_bullard

Cowboys employees and players lined up to greet Jason Witten @NBCDFW @BlueStarBlog https://t.co/k3hYHCy6HQ

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Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott saluted the 11-time Pro Bowler:

Witten is the franchise leader in receptions (1,152) and receiving yards (12,448), and his 68 touchdowns are third all time among Cowboys players.

ESPN's Chris Mortensen first reported April 27 that Witten was retiring and transitioning to a broadcasting career, so Thursday's press conference confirmed what many already expected.

The Cowboys used a fourth-round draft pick on Stanford tight end Dalton Schultz as well, which seemingly indicated the team was preparing for a post-Witten future. Schultz caught 55 passes for 555 yards and five touchdowns in three years with the Stanford Cardinal.

Dallas doesn't have another clear replacement for Witten lined up, so Schultz may have an opportunity grab the starting job this offseason.

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