OFFICIAL: Dallas Cowboys Legendary TE Retires

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 03: Jason Witten #82 of the Dallas Cowboys sits on the bench late in the fourth quarter as the Washington Redskins beat the Dallas Cowboys 34-23 at AT&T Stadium on January 3, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

According to multiple sources, Dallas Cowboys legendary tight end Jason Witten will retire. He will be joining ESPN as an analyst and color commentator on Monday Night Football.

Witten made the decision to play in 2018 but had a change of heart after he got an offer from ESPN to join MNF. During the last week, he was between quitting football and staying with Cowboys for another year. He talked with Jerry Jones about the situation, while Jason Garrett tried to persuade him to stay in Dallas for another run. In the end, ESPN prevailed, and after 16 seasons in Dallas, Witten will leave for another job.

In the last few days, various sources reported that there was a second network willing to hire Witten, but they were looking to employ him in 2019, which would better suit Cowboys. His final decision was to take the offer from ESPN and take a spot on Monday Night Football after a 15-year stint with America’s Team which made him one of the best players who ever donned the star.

Jason Witten will be remembered as the Cowboy who played most games for Big D franchise, had most consecutive starts, most catches and receiving yards. Last January he appeared in his 11th Pro Bowl which tied him to another Cowboys legend, Bob Lilly. On the NFL level, he’s only behind Jerry Rice, Tony Gonzalez, and Larry Fitzgerald in catches. In the tight end category, only Gonzalez has more receiving yards than Witten in the history of the NFL which speaks volumes for itself. Jason played fifteen seasons for Dallas Cowboys which ties him with Ed “Too Tall” Jones, Bill Bates and Mark Tuinei in the number of the seasons with the franchise. Had he returned for 16th he would be the longest-tenured Cowboy.

Until days ago there was no sign that Witten would retire as he participated in all regular and captain’s workouts since the off-season program began. But, when news broke out, Cowboys top brass knew before everyone else and reacted by drafting Stanford’s TE Dalton Schultz.

Now, with Witten gone, Cowboys have Schultz, Geoff Swaim, Blake Jarwin and Rico Gathers at the TE position and quite a big shoes to fill.