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Cowboys' Jason Witten: 'I Do Not Envision' Week 17 'Being My Last' NFL Game

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 26, 2019

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - DECEMBER 05:  Jason Witten #82 of the Dallas Cowboys watches action during a game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on December 05, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois.  The Bears defeated the Cowboys 31-24.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten left the door open for a return to the NFL in 2020 as he approaches the final week of the regular season.

"Sure, it's a possibility," Witten said Thursday when asked whether his career could end Sunday, per ESPN's Todd Archer. "I'm aware of that, but really, one of the things when I came back to play I was committed to going out there and playing every game and opportunity. So fortunate to do it. There will be time to make that decision, but I do not envision this being my last game."

The 11-time Pro Bowler added a decision about his future would likely come "pretty quick" once the Cowboys' season officially ends.

Witten initially retired in May 2018 and transitioned to a role with ESPN for Monday Night Football. He returned to the Cowboys in February, signing a one-year deal.

Through 15 games, Witten has caught 59 passes for 505 yards and four touchdowns. Football Outsiders ranks him 19th in DYAR (defense-adjusted yards above replacement) among tight ends with at least 25 targets.

Considering his age (37) and brief hiatus, Witten has arguably exceeded expectations for Dallas. As a result, the allure of giving it one more season might be tough to ignore. Should he come back, he'd be the ninth tight end in NFL history to continue his career at 38 years old, per Pro Football Reference.

The Cowboys would arguably be better served by going in a different direction regardless of Witten's choice. 

That aforementioned group of aging tight ends highlights how Witten can't keep beating Father Time.

Only Ben Watson and Antonio Gates registered a reception after turning 38. Watson, who's still playing, has 51 catches for 569 yards and two touchdowns in 25 appearances over 25 games, while Gates caught 28 passes for 333 yards and two scores in 2018 with the Los Angeles Chargers.

Even though the team is clearly looking to contend now, at some point, Dallas has to find a tight end who can help them for more than a year at a time.