The Legend Returns: Jason Witten Rejoins the Cowboys

Photo Courtesy: James D. Smith

The Legend Returns: Jason Witten Rejoins the Cowboys
By Zach Walker – @ZachWalkerDB7
Set the stage. The future is bleak. Things are taking shape, but the optimism is scarce. The players in place are young, inexperienced and overmatched. Cue the “Hero Song.” Smoke fills the room and in walks Jason Witten in his headset and pressed suit. He tosses the headset aside and rips the suit off as if made of wrapping paper, to reveal him still donning his jersey with pads on underneath. “Good job holding it down… But I’ll take it from here.” Screeching electric guitar solo!
No. Though that’s how the entirety of #CowboysNation is reacting, the reality is actually much different. I’m not going to pretend to know Jason Witten, but the position that he’s walking away from is a fantastic, cushy job where he’s still around the game, gets to share his opinions formed from his Hall of Fame playing past, and with every Monday that goes by him, he grows as a one more week seasoned broadcaster. Sure, he was nervous and robotic at the beginning of the season. However, by his final “appearance” he had it down. He knew when to speak, when to stop, keep his input concise and light, like a color commentator would be expected. I’m going to take a huge leap off of this news and take the unpopular negative route of this news.
First, this really does speak to the Cowboys inability to put a respectable tight end on the field over the past twenty years that wasn’t named Jason Witten. Oh have they tried. Martellus Bennett, if he was as good as he believed he was, he’d have stuck with one of those teams he played on, and he played with Eli Manning, Aaron Rodgers, and Tom Brady. Gavin Escobar, outside of catching touchdowns against the Giants, he flamed out and is not in the AAF, though he is playing well. Anthony Fasano had a pretty excellent career, but he made his days elsewhere, not Dallas. This is a subtle, will never be spoken, but the move speaks for itself, Witten realizing that his vacancy won’t be filled by anyone on roster. The four young men on this team currently: Rico Gathers, Geoff Swaim, Dalton Schultz, and Blake Jarwin do nothing for opposing teams.
The second point from me is the downer point. It’s a great player, a true great player, admitting that he can’t let go of the game. That the mundanity of “real world” post-football life cannot satisfy his daily grind that he got when a part of the NFL. That Witten is choosing the “glory” of ‘Leaving it all on the field’ than walking away with what health he’s got. Under NO circumstance am I implying that I expect Witten to get injured, but if he were to, what does that do to his lore? He’s made from special stuff, but to have walked away from the risk to come back and put himself back behind the crosshairs is just… I don’t know, it just seems not worth the risk. This decision pretty much solidifies that Witten will never get away from the sideline again, where it’s a safe bet to think the next time he decides to bury the cleats, he’ll be donning a clipboard and whistle instead of the headset.
I, like all Cowboys’ fans, am happy to see 82 pledge to return, but not at the sacrifice of the legend. Watch the Amazon Cowboys’ season, focus on Witten, that decision for him to choose to walk was clearly a world-warping choice that devastated him, but to leave under his own power, I want HIM to make that choice going forward, instead of the possibility of his body making that choice for him.