When Jason Witten entered the NFL 17 years in the past as a third-round decide in Dallas, his famously blunt coach, Invoice Parcells, delivered him a easy message.
“He taught me early on, reliability, dependability, consistency, that’s the way you make it on this recreation,” Witten mentioned Wednesday. “These are traits that I’ve stored close to and expensive to me for my complete profession.”
For almost twenty years that included a one-year interruption within the “Monday Evening Soccer” saying sales space, Witten has taken that recommendation to coronary heart.
The 38-year-old Witten has missed just one recreation in 17 seasons within the NFL and can break Corridor of Famer Tony Gonzalez’s document for tight ends along with his 271st profession recreation in Sunday’s season finale for the Las Vegas Raiders (7-8) in opposition to the Denver Broncos (5-10).
“To have a possibility like this, I believe that’s simply the best way I attempted to play,” Witten mentioned. “I believe on this league, the minute you’re feeling such as you’ve arrived otherwise you belong, you’re going to get handed up. I believe my benefit and form of my edge for me was that each day of each second, I by no means felt like this recreation owed me something. I needed to go earn it. That’s go on the market and play. You hear folks discuss it typically. It’s a ‘present me’ recreation.”
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Witten has proven loads in a profession that featured 11 Professional Bowl berths, first-team All-Professional picks in 2007 and 2010, and a number of the most prolific stats anybody has put up on the place.
He had eight seasons with a minimum of 75 catches, 4 1,000-yard campaigns and ranks second all-time on the place with 1,228 receptions and 13,046 yards, and is fifth with 74 TDs.
The Raiders signed him to a one-year deal for a veteran presence within the tight ends room and are happy with what they received regardless of solely 13 catches for 69 yards.
“He’s been nice for the tight ends, he’s been nice for me, he’s been nice for our offense,” coach Jon Gruden mentioned. “Sadly, we’ve not been capable of have loads of crew gatherings, crew meals, crew conferences due to the protocols and the quarantines and all that stuff. However he’s had an actual affect on our guys. … He’s one of many nice conflict daddies of all-time and he’s going to interrupt Tony Gonzalez’s document on Sunday, and it’s nice to have been a small a part of that.”
Witten mentioned he hasn’t determined whether or not he desires to attempt to come again subsequent season or retire for good. He stepped away as soon as already after the 2017 season to exchange Gruden as analyst on “Monday Evening Soccer” for ESPN.
That didn’t go properly and Witten returned to the Cowboys in 2019 earlier than signing with the Raiders this previous offseason. Gruden mentioned he believes Witten might comply with his path once more and get into teaching if he needed.
“I believe he’d be an important coach,” Gruden mentioned. “I believe after seeing what we went by way of this 12 months, I’d say hell no, I believe he’s going to get again into TV or go do one thing else. However yeah, I believe he’d be a stellar coach. I believe he’d be a Tom Landry, a Invoice Cowher. I believe he’s received superb soccer mind, he’s received nice motivational expertise, he’s a superb communicator and he loves the sport.”
NOTES: DE Clelin Ferrell (shoulder) was positioned on IR. … DE Takk McKinley, who was claimed off waivers in November, gained’t play this season for the Raiders. He went on IR with a groin damage as quickly as he arrived and hasn’t recovered. … S Jeff Heath (concussion) was activated from IR and DB Daryl Worley was activated from the COVID-19 checklist. … RB Jalen Richard was positioned on the COVID-19 checklist. … T Trent Brown (knee), G Denzelle Good (ankle), DT Maurice Hurst (calf) and DB Lamarcus Joyner (thigh) didn’t observe.