Jason Witten Retires After 17 NFL Seasons; Will Sign 1-Day Cowboys Contract

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJanuary 27, 2021

Las Vegas Raiders tight end Jason Witten (82) warms up before an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Jason Witten is retiring again. 

According to Todd Archer of ESPN, Witten "intends to sign one-day contract and retire as a member of the Dallas Cowboys in March when his contract with the Las Vegas Raiders expires." 

Witten told Archer:

"A coach once told me, 'The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example.' As I hang it up, I walk away knowing that for 17 seasons I gave it my absolute all. I am proud of my accomplishments as a football player on the field and the example I tried to set off of it. Football is a great game that has taught me many valuable lessons, and I look forward to passing on that knowledge to the next generation."

Witten retired for one season in 2018, serving as color commentator for ESPN's Monday Night Football broadcast. He returned to the Cowboys in 2019 before spending the last season with the Raiders

Witten, 38, accumulated 1,215 receptions in 16 years with the Cowboys for 12,977 yards and 74 touchdowns. He added 13 catches for 69 yards and two scores this past season with the Raiders. 

Ed Werder @WerderEdESPN

During season, Jason Witten told me he enjoyed year with #Raiders, viewing it as helpful to his plan to coach. “This experience has been really good in that regard to see another philosophy, Jon (Gruden) has been good with me, and I’ve enjoyed my friendship with Mark Davis.”

Vic Tafur @VicTafur

Jason Witten calls it a career. Coaches, players loved having him around for one season in Las Vegas. #Raiders https://t.co/PlRYgECRHi

The 11-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro selection finishes his career fourth in all-time receptions and 19th in receiving yards.

Ed Werder @WerderEdESPN

Jason Witten finishes 4th on career receptions list behind Jerry Rice, Larry Fitzgerald and Tony Gonzalez, per @ESPNStatsInfo. Most Receptions in NFL History Jerry Rice 1,549 Larry Fitzgerald 1,432 Tony Gonzalez 1,325 Jason Witten 1,228

He'll make a very interesting case for the Hall of Fame and was contemporaries with a number of players who helped evolve the tight end position, from Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates to Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce and George Kittle. 

Witten's future may be on the sidelines rather than back in the broadcast booth. Per ESPN's Ed Werder, "He has an interest in coaching and agreed to be a position coach for an NFL team if it hired a certain head coach candidate."

It would be surprising if Witten didn't have a future in football in some capacity. Regardless of what comes next, it's only fitting that he'll retire as a Cowboy.