Raiders Starter Announces Retirement From the NFL

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Getty Las Vegas Raiders helmet.

Jason Witten pulled off a surprising move last offseason when he decided to sign with the Las Vegas Raiders. The tight end spent his first 16 seasons in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys and it was hard for a lot of people to see him in a different jersey. Well, it looks like his stint away from Dallas was short-lived.

According to ESPN’s Todd Archer, Witten is retiring from the NFL and will be signing a one-day contract with the Cowboys when his Raiders contract expires in March.

This is the second time that Witten has retired as he skipped the 2018 season to work for ESPN for a brief time. While it’s always possible he changes his mind again, it seems like we’ve seen the future Hall of Famer play his last game.

The decision to sign with the Cowboys on a one-day deal isn’t a slight to the Raiders. Witten made himself a legend in Dallas and he wants to show respect to the team that made him who he is. It was unlikely the Raiders were planning to bring him back so it certainly seems like the right time for him to hang up his cleats.

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Is Coaching in Witten’s Future?

If you hear Witten talk, he just sounds like a coach. He’s got the charisma and intelligence to thrive in that kind of role. In fact, it’s very possible that the Raiders could have a coaching job lined up for him. The team lost tight ends coach Frank Smith to the Los Angeles Chargers a couple of weeks ago. According to Vic Tafur of The Athletic, the job is likely Witten’s if he wants it.

The Raiders have yet to fill the opening so it’s possible they’re waiting on Witten. Though he doesn’t have coaching experience, he’d be a logical fit. He spent the last year getting to know Darren Waller and Foster Moreau very well. He was also a great fit in the locker room. Jon Gruden loves him and would probably hire him in a heartbeat. However, Witten could also want to take some time off. Time will tell if he really wants to stay involved with football right now.

Witten Caps off Legendary Career

Witten’s career didn’t necessarily end with a bang. He played all 16 games for the Raiders in 2020 and only caught 13 passes with two touchdowns. Waller was the top tight end so the team didn’t need to rely on Witten much.

That said, Witten retires as one of the greatest tight ends to ever play the game. His 1,228 career receptions and 13,046 receiving yards are both second all-time for tight ends behind Tony Gonzales. He’s also fifth all-time in touchdowns by a tight end with 74. There’s no question that he deserves to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

Though he was never able to win a Super Bowl, he has one of the most impressive resumes by any player in NFL history. While we will no longer see him playing on Sundays, it’s hard to imagine this is the last we’ve seen of Witten in some capacity.

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