Dallas Cowboys iconic tight end Jason Witten has informed owner Jerry Jones and head coach Jason Garrett he will retire after 15 years in the NFL to join ESPN.
According to Todd Archer, who covers the Dallas Cowboys for ESPN, the 35-year-old NFL veteran struggled with the decision last week, but opted to walk away from the game.
Witten is set to join ESPN’s Monday Night Football broadcast team, leaving pro football with the fourth-most catches in NFL history behind Jerry Rice, Tony Gonzalez and Larry Fitzgerald.
Witten, an 11-time Pro Bowl selection, is parting ways with Dallas as the franchise leader in pass receptions (1,152), receiving yards (12,488), games played (239) and ranks third in receiving touchdowns (68).
The Dallas Cowboys drafted Witten out of the University of Tennessee in the third round of the 2003 NFL Draft (69th pick overall).
During the 2018 NFL Draft, the Cowboys picked up Stanford tight end Dalton Schultz in the fourth round. According to NFL.com, Schultz was graded as a 5.70 prospect (chance to become an NFL starter) and may now get the opportunity to hit the field at AT&T Stadium sooner than expected.
Witten will be the third Dallas Cowboy to be on a current leading network NFL broadcast team (Troy Aikman – Fox, Tony Romo – CBS).
A press conference has been scheduled for Thursday at 2:00 p.m., at The Star in Frisco.