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Cowboys' Witten retiring, heading to ESPN

Cowboys' Witten retiring, heading to ESPN

He emptied the bucket here", Jones said, responding to a question about that missing Super Bowl after speeches by all three on stage: "Witten, Jones and coach Jason Garrett.

"I never wanted this day to come".

Witten left a message for his Cowboys teammates and coaches who are now charged with the mission of claiming a Super Bowl title that ultimately proved to be beyond his reach: championships are important but enjoying the journey and being a victor in life matters most. He caught 1,152 passes for more than 12,000 yards, both Cowboys records.

Witten, who turns 36 on Sunday, follows other Cowboys players down a similar path into broadcasting.

Sources said he leaned heavily on Jones in coming to a conclusion.

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Jason Witten, who spent all 15 seasons of his NFL career with the Cowboys, is retiring to join ESPN's Monday Night Football broadcast team as an analyst. Witten's 11 Pro Bowl appearances were bested only by Gonzalez, who finished with 14.

Romo, the franchise passing leader, and Witten couldn't get to the Cowboys to an NFC championship game after joining the team together in 2003. He leaves as the Cowboys' all-time leader in games played, consecutive games played, starts, catches and receiving yards, according to ESPN. He said he is ready for the opportunities he will have post retirement. "That is certainly what I tried my best to do during my time with this organization". During that 15-year span, Witten only missed one game: a single DNP during his rookie season. The future Hall of Famer finished his career ranked fourth in National Football League history in receptions and holds records for most catches in a single season by a tight end (110 in 2012) and most catches in a game by a tight end (18 in 2012).

Witten will call his first Cowboys game on November 5 when Dallas hosts the Tennessee Titans at AT&T Stadium.

When the season ended, Witten vowed to return for another season because "I love this game too much". He trails Dez Bryant, released last month with 73 TDs, and Hall of Famer Bob Hayes (71). On Saturday, the Cowboys drafted Stanford tight end Dalton Schultz in the fourth round.

"(Witten is) simply the best example of what you want a football player and person to be, on and off the field", Garrett said. I think that you could chase that thing forever and it might be the next year, but it might be 10 years away. "I've decided that the time has come for me to pass the torch to the next generation of Dallas Cowboys".


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