Jason Witten saw Tony Romo, DeMarcus Ware and Doug Free retire this year. The Cowboys tight end, though, isn’t ready to leave the game yet.
Witten, who signed an extension through 2021 this offseason, returns for a 15th season.
“As I was reflecting, I was overwhelmed with joy knowing that this game provided relationships like that [with Romo, Ware and Free],” Witten said, via Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “In saying that, I’m also excited about the new bonds I’ve been able to form and grow with that. It’s an interesting relationship that I find myself in with these guys. It’s a lot of fun. It really is.
“I think the common ground is that we love football and the drive that we have to chase something special together is what I’ve enjoyed so much with this group.”
Witten, 35, owns several franchise records: He has the most career receptions (1,089), most consecutive games with a reception (130), most games started (213) and most consecutive games played (219). Witten needs 16 yards to pass Michael Irvin for most receiving yards in franchise history (11,904) and one game to tie Ed Jones’ record of 224 games played.
As he watches Jerry Jones enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, Witten admits he will have thoughts about one day joining his owner in Canton.
“I’d be lying to say that’s not one of the things you hope as a player, you come in, that just to be mentioned with those guys is such an honor,” Witten said. “I think I’ll have plenty of time to reflect on it, being there. That’s the highest honor, individually.
“Obviously we don’t play for that. But, individually, that’s what you hope you can be a part of. They don’t let anybody slip through the cracks.”