Jason Witten: Fan Favorite On and Off the Field

Jason Witten‘s career started in 2003 when the Dallas Cowboys selected the former Tennessee Volunteer in the third round as the 69th pick in the 2003 NFL Draft. He played tight end for 15 seasons, all with Dallas. He accumulated 1,152 receptions for 12,448 yards, which puts him second all-time for career receptions and receiving yards by a tight end in NFL history. He also hauled in 68 touchdowns during his career. Witten made the Pro Bowl 11 times during his career and wasa two-time first team All Pro and was voted to the second team as well.

One of Witten’s best seasons came in 2007 when he had 96 receptions for 1,145 yards and seven touchdowns. With the career stats he has been able to put up, he has a good chance at being a first ballot Hall of Famer. The only thing that Witten didn’t accomplish is winning a Super Bowl.

Witten’s ability to stay healthy during his career is something that made him a fan favorite in Dallas. The former Volunteer played in 239 games and started in 229 of those games. He also had 15 seasons with at least one touchdown reception for the season.

Witten was the ultimate humanitarian as well. He was active off the field with his foundation SCORE. He helped raise awareness to provide aid to families and individuals impacted by domestic violence and domestic abuse. Witten strengthened his commitment to youth fitness by launching the Play Move Score Program at Boys and Girls club centers in Dallas and Fort Worth areas. In 2012, Witten won the Walter Payton Man of the Year award for all of his accomplishments off the field.

The NCAA recently named an award after Witten, the Collegiate Man of the Year award. Last season, it went to Shaquem Griffin from Central Florida. The award honors a college football player who demonstrated an outstanding record of leadership by exhibiting courage, integrity, and sportsmanship. Those are the same characteristics Witten embodied during his football career.

Former Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has said that Witten was his go-to- receiver when he needed a big play. One big play that Witten made that will always be remembered came on November 4, 2007. Romo threw a pass on second and nine over the middle to Witten where he got drilled by Philadelphia Eagles safety Quintin Mikell with a corner assisting on a would be takcle. Witten’s helmet came off, but hewas able to escape both of them and take it another 30 yards after the catch to the Eagles six yard line.

Witten brought plenty of heart and determination in every game he was involved in. He is a future Pro Football Hall of Famer and there is no doubt about it. He will be missed by Cowboy Nation and he is a player that will be tough to replace on and off the field. It will be interesting to see if incoming rookie Dalton Schultz can provide the Cowboys with some productivity as he unfortunately has to assume the role of filling the void Witten left behind.

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