There was some thought Jason Witten would retire (again), this time to go into coaching. It seemed like an opportune time with the Cowboys turning over their coaching staff and Jason Garrett going to the Giants as offensive coordinator.
But when both the Cowboys and Giants hired tight end coaches, it became obvious Witten hopes to play in 2020.
If Witten has his way, he will play another season, and he will play another season for the Cowboys.
The tight end, though, understands the reality of the NFL: He might have to go to the Giants or some other team to play a 17th season.
“Well, it’s taken a lot longer than I had hoped for, but I think obviously with so many changes happening inside the [Cowboys’] building, just working through that,” Witten said Tuesday night, via David Helman of the team website. “I met with Mike [McCarthy] early on after he got the job. We had a really good visit. Since then, he’s been putting together his staff. I’ve had constant communication with Stephen [Jones] and Jerry [Jones] along the way. So I think it’s my hope — I think our hope — to kind of have those talks very soon after the Combine ends and before free agency. I want to play. I think I want to explore that. I think it’s the right fit in the role, and I feel like I still have something to give. I’ve been on the other side of that and made the decision to retire.
“I just think, yeah, coaching is in my future, but right now, I want to play while I can. We’ll see where that takes place. Of course, I want that to be with the Dallas Cowboys. I’ll always be a Dallas Cowboy. But I also understand that, with all the changes, I may have to go somewhere else.”
Witten, 37, has played in eight postseason games in his career. The Cowboys are 2-6 in the playoffs during Witten’s career, never reaching the NFC Championship Game.
Witten desires to finish what he started with the team he started it with as a third-round choice in 2003. A Lombardi Trophy would qualify as the cherry on top of a Hall of Fame-worthy career.
“I hope that it’s here just because there’s nothing I want more than to bring a championship here,” Witten said. “I think this team is close. I think it really has the makeup to do some special things.”