Jason Witten could have remained in retirement and rode off into the sunset while going down as the best tight in Dallas Cowboys history. But he just couldn’t do it, even after one full season away from the game. Witten, who spent the past year as an analyst for ESPN’s Monday Night Football revealed he would come out of retirement for season No. 16.
And of course, he’d return to the Cowboys to help make the push for a Super Bowl victory. The team announced the decision on Thursday and it came with excitement from the fanbase and it was apparent Witten was ready to get back on the field.
“The fire inside of me to compete and play this game is just burning too strong,” Witten said in a statement. “This team has a great group of rising young stars, and I want to help them make a run at a championship. This was completely my decision, and I am very comfortable with it. I’m looking forward to getting back in the dirt.”
After the news was revealed, there was plenty of strong reactions on social media from both fans and players. But one person whose comments stood out were those of Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett.
Jason Garrett Addresses Jason Witten’s Return
As Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News reported, Garrett and Witten had talked about the potential return in recent weeks. He also revealed the coach said he believes that the 36-year-old tight end can play at a “high level,” and Garrett’s comments don’t sound like someone who was overly surprised by this decision.
“I think he felt like there was still some meat on the bone, some things he wanted to accomplish,” Garrett said. “I think he loves it and he wants to be in this environment. There’s no doubt in his mind that he can still play. There’s no doubt in my mind that he can still play.”
There’s little reason to doubt that Witten will be able to play at a high level, considering he totaled 63 receptions for 560 yards and five touchdowns during the 2017 season. He’ll immediately bolster an area that was one of the biggest question marks surrounding the Cowboys ahead of 2019.
Cowboys’ 2018 Production From Tight Ends
Although a few of the young tight ends on the Cowboys roster showed glimpses of upside this past season, the production was inconsistent. Blake Jarwin led the way at the position, totaling 27 receptions for 307 yards and three touchdowns, but 119 of those yards and each score came in the team’s final game of the season.
Beyond Jarwin, Geoff Swaim caught 26 passes for 242 yards and one score while Dalton Schultz totaled 12 catches for 116 yards. Rico Gathers is a name who many had hoped to see break out, but he was unable to do much during the year, catching 3-of-7 targets for 45 yards.