Jason Witten retiring from Cowboys to jump into ESPN's 'MNF' booth

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Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten is retiring from the NFL and joining ESPN as an analyst for Monday Night Football, multiple media outlets reported on Thursday.

Witten, who turns 36 on Sunday, liked to do his talking on the field.

During his retirement press conference on Thursday afternoon, Witten expressed his disappointment with not helping the Cowboys and owner Jerry Jones win a Super Bowl, according to Drew Davidson of Star-Telegram. He played 15 games his rookie season, missing one game with a broken jaw, and finished with 35 catches for 347 yards.

Witten is fourth all-time in National Football League history for pass receptions and is only the second tight end in history to have more than 12,000 receiving yards, according to ESPN. Witten's move comes one year after friend and longtime teammate Tony Romo retired as the Cowboys' all-time passing leader to join CBS.

"Jason has given so much to this team, to this franchise". Play-by-play voice Sean McDonough left Monday Night Football after two seasons in March to return to calling college football games in the fall. He once played with a broken jaw, after having to sneak rolls of coins into his trousers to make weight for the game. He is third in receiving touchdowns (68) and tied with Hall of Famer Bob Lilly for the franchise mark with 11 Pro Bowl selections. "I was never the most talented, never the flashiest, I relied on grit".

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While fighting back tears at times after the Cowboys were eliminated from playoff contention for yet another disappointing finish last season, Witten seemed intent on playing a 16th season. He is also 21st all-time in receiving yards (12,448) and fourth in receptions (1,152). "That is certainly what I tried my best to do during my time with this organization". "The last few days have been challenging for me".

This day was always coming soon for the Cowboys.

Dallas tight ends now include Rico Gathers, Blake Jarwin and Geoff Swaim. "When you're in those moments, those other things didn't really exist, so I think that had a lot to do with it".

In 2014, Romo said Witten "might be the best Cowboy of all time".

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