America’s Team gets its fair share of publicity, and sometimes it’s even good. The circus that is the Dallas Cowboys never falls short of headlines, despite falling short of the playoffs the last couple of years. But hidden in the all those headlines is the solid play, and solid person, that is Cowboys tight end Jason Witten.
When it’s all said and done, Witten will be considered one of the best ever at the tight end position. He ranks second in NFL history in career receptions for a tight end (817 and counting). He holds the NFL record for most catches by a tight end in a single season (110 in 2012) and most catches by a tight end in one game (18 in 2012). We can go on and on. Needless to say, the resume is impressive, and unfinished. Not bad for a third round pick out of Tennessee.
What makes Witten stand out the most, at least in my mind, is the toughness. Prior to the 2012 season, he suffered a lacerated spleen in the preseason opener against the Oakland Raiders, missing the rest of the preseason. The questioned remained whether he would be ready for the opener against the New York Giants; a spleen injury is no joke. Witten answered that question by suiting up and playing, catching two passes for 10 yards in the Cowboys win. And there was that one time in 2007 against the Philadelphia Eagles where he caught a pass and ran down field after losing his helmet. That’s toughness.
But as impressive Jason Witten the football player is, Jason Witten the person may be more. Last season he won the highest honor a player can receive for his work off the field, the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. His SCORE Foundation helps provide support and assistance for families and individuals affected by domestic violence. And not to be lost, especially in this day and age, he’s a nice and respectful guy to talk to.
Witten continues to be a weapon for the Cowboys as he climbs up the list of the game’s greats. The 8-time Pro Bowler will have his spot in the NFL Hall Of Fame once he hangs up the pads. The accomplishments on the field will long live with Cowboys Nation, but the impact Witten continues to make off the field is what will last a lifetime.
Written by C. James