Over his 15-year career with the Dallas Cowboys, recently retired tight end Jason Witten accomplished everything the organization could have wanted and more.
He finished his tenure in Dallas with 1,1152 receptions — fourth-most in NFL history — and 12,448 receiving yards. He also made 11 Pro Bowls and was named a First-Team All-Pro twice.
And yes, the Cowboys undoubtedly made him immensely rich, but still, team owner Jerry Jones couldn’t resist sending Witten off with a gift that can only be described as outrageously expensive.
Witten officially announced his retirement at a news conference on Thursday, and near the end of the event, Jones posed with Witten, his wife Michelle and their children.
At that point, as noted by CBS Sports, Jones gave Witten a diamond-encrusted football. And if there was any question as to whether the diamonds were real, Jones quickly pointed out that there was not a single thing fake about them.
“Michelle,” Jones told Witten’s wife as they were posing for the photo, “These are all real.”
In his own remarks during the news conference, Jones had very high praise for his tight end.
“Of all the owners, heads of networks, coaches, all the people I have met since being in the NFL, Jason Witten is in the top five of all of those as a man,” Jones said, per the Dallas Morning News.
“His humility and his dependability is unmatched. He walks away from playing professional football the same way he walked in to his profession, confident, willing to outwork anybody, mentally, physically, capable of executing it, very prepared,” he added.
Witten himself got emotional at times during his own speech, as he looked back on his 15 years in a Cowboys uniform.
“I never wanted this day to come. But it does come for all of us,” Witten said, according to USA Today. “There’s an old saying in football — the circus doesn’t stay in town forever. The older you get, the more you realize there’s a deeper meaning. It’s better to leave 3 hours too soon than a minute too late.”
“It’s time to pass the torch to the next generation,” he added.
His playing career might be over, but Witten is not leaving football for good. Rather, he’s set to join ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” booth as an analyst. He indicated the opportunity to start a broadcasting career was part of why he decided to retire.
“It’s a unique opportunity to join a really good team — with a group of guys who have the same passion,” he said. “That’s John Madden’s chair. Jon Gruden’s chair.”
Witten is not the only former Cowboy in recent years to turn his sights to broadcasting. His former quarterback, Tony Romo, retired following the 2016 season and started working as an in-game analyst for CBS.
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