DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – Cowboys legend and all-around “good guy,” Jason Witten will add sport’s analyst to his resume.
ESPN reports that Witten is planning to retire after 15 years to join their new ‘Monday Night Football’ broadcast team.
He will share his expertise as a lead analyst, but only after owner Jerry Jones makes the decision final.
“I’ve talked to Jason several times this week, I have met with him as late as a few hours ago….and we’ve have great discussions,” said Jones. “I will keep details of those discussions private forever. I’m not trying to be dramatic. He has some things to think about and discuss with his family from a professional perpsepctive. He also told me those things will require a few more days of consideration, at least though the weekend. He has not made any decisions that are definite at this time. We have no announcement today as it pertains to Jason’s future other than to say that he’s a wonderful, and valued member of our organization and our family. With respect to Jason and his wishes, this is all we will say on this subject for rest of weekend.”
The Cowboys released wide receiver Dez Bryant earlier this year.
The news on the second day of the draft could affect Dallas’ plans just a week after Witten suggested he might play until he was 40 and intended to return this coming season. Witten turns 36 early next month.
It’s the second straight year that a Cowboys star is retiring to go into broadcasting. Former quarterback Tony Romo became the lead analyst for CBS last season.
Witten is the franchise leader in games and consecutive games played along with starts and consecutive starts. The 10-time Pro Bowler will finish tied with defensive end Ed “Too Tall” Jones, safety Bill Bates and late offensive lineman Mark Tuinei for most seasons in franchise history.
The decision by Witten also means that the Cowboys have lost two of their top three players in career touchdown catches this month. The club released receiver Dez Bryant, the club leader with 73 TD grabs, in a cost-cutting move. Witten is third with 68, three behind Hall of Famer Bob Hayes.
A third-round pick out of Tennessee in 2003, Witten is the franchise leader in catches (1,152) and yards (12,448). He and Tony Gonzalez are the only tight ends with at least 1,000 catches and 10,000 yards.
But stats and flash never really defined Witten, always praised by coach Jason Garrett as the best two-way tight end in the NFL because of his blocking ability.
Even though he was still active, the team paid tribute to him in its new practice facility with a huge picture of Witten running down the field against Philadelphia in 2007 without his helmet, which was knocked off on a hit as he stayed on his feet and kept going for almost 30 yards.
The decision by Witten will mean the lead analyst job at all three networks will be held by former players who spent their entire careers with the Cowboys. The other is Fox’s Troy Aikman, a three-time Super Bowl winner at quarterback in the 1990s.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)