Less than a year after announcing his retirement, Jason Witten has announced that he will be leaving ESPN’s Monday Night Football and rejoining the Dallas Cowboys. Witten said in a statement, “The fire inside of me to compete and play this game is just burning too strong. This team has a great group of rising young stars, and I want to help them make a run at a championship. This was completely my decision, and I am very comfortable with it. I’m looking forward to getting back in the dirt.” Witten will be leaving ESPN after signing a four year deal, and ESPN commented in a statement, “We thank Jason for his many contributions to Monday Night Football and to ESPN over the past year and wish him continued success. We have seen many former coaches and players go into broadcasting before eventually returning to the game they love, so we understand Jason’s desire to return to the Dallas Cowboys.” According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Witten signed a one year deal for $3.5 million.
Witten has quite the history with the Cowboys to date. With his return, he will become the longest serving member of the Dallas Cowboys franchise with 16 years of service. He also holds various records within the organization, including most games played, most consecutive games played, and most games as a starting player.
Although Witten has been off the field and in a studio/press box for nearly a full year, he has seemed to remain in decent shape, so coming back to the game should not be a rough transition regarding body physique. However, Witten will be turning 37 in May, which is 10.4 years older than the average age of players in the NFL which is 26.6 years old. Additionally, he will become one of the oldest players that is active in the NFL, and the oldest tight end. As of now, four of the top ten oldest active NFL players are placekickers, with the remaining six being quarterbacks, a defensive end, and a long snapper. With his return, he will become the oldest player whose position entails high impact contact. This has left people wondering why he returned since he may only have a few good years left, and the fact that his safety may be on the line. Either way, the Dallas Cowboys should be thrilled to have such a legendary player return, and we will just have to wait and see what training camp brings for Jason Witten.
Claire Coburn is an Intern Writer for Pub Sports Radio