Jason Witten deserves to be considered an all-time great

Dallas Cowboys

Retiring for the Monday Night Football booth, Jason Witten deserves to have his career shined under a favorable light.

Jason Witten is retiring from football, hopefully with his body intact. After 13 years in the arena, the 35-year-old is going to the broadcast booth, ready to serve millions each week on Monday Night Football.

Witten, who amassed 12,448 yards and 69 touchdowns in a certain Hall-of-Fame career, is the rarest of star athletes. He played in a major market for an iconic franchise known as America’s Team, and yet he largely went underrated. Tony Gonzalez, Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Gates always drew the headlines for tight ends during Witten’s time, almost forgetting the greatness that was taking place in Dallas.

Unlike so many of his peers with the Cowboys, Witten was never part of the circus. He didn’t get in trouble away from the field and didn’t act the fool on it. There were no juicy soundbites from Witten, a Tennessean who let his play doing all the talking.

Despite his greatness, the Cowboys never reached an NFC Championship Game during his career. In fact, Witten only knew postseason success twice, with both wins followed by a crushing NFC Divisional defeat. Still, it was through no fault of Witten, who notched four 1,000-yard seasons and 11 Pro Bowl berths.

Additionally, Witten found his way onto a pair of First-Team All-Pro teams and twice was named Second-Team All-Pro, all while playing in the golden age of tight end production.

It seems appropriate that Witten is quietly riding off into the next phase of his life, doing it when the NFL calendar is all but a whisper. He never wanted the fame and attention that came with being a chiseled superstar on the most recognizable team in American sports. It never mattered.

If Witten’s career can be boiled down to one play, it’s this one against the Philadelphia Eagles. Crushing hit, lost helmet, bleeding nose and a 35-yard gain. Also, not an ounce of celebration at the end.

Witten’s only regret is likely that it brought him attention.

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