We’ve seen Jason Witten retire from the NFL before, but as long as the durable veteran was playing, we expected him to be wearing a Dallas Cowboys uniform.
However, Witten signed this offseason with the Las Vegas Raiders. His 17th NFL season will be his first one with another franchise.
This afternoon, Witten spoke with the media following training camp practice. Addressing his decision to sign elsewhere in free agency, the 38-year-old tight end said there were discussions about him going back to Dallas, but he ultimately chose to pursue a “unique opportunity” with Las Vegas.
“Yeah, there were talks of that. I mean, I think anytime you have a coaching changes and a new program being built, that’s part of this business,” Witten said, via Pro Football Talk. “Obviously, I had a great relationship over 16, 17 years there with the Jones family. Very honest and very upfront. Of course, with Mike [McCarthy], look, that’s a talented team.
“But this was a unique opportunity for me as well to come here. Really, I’m invigorated by this challenge, where I’m at in my career. It made a lot of sense from the fit and the role and the presence that I could have. I didn’t really overthink it. Just a great opportunity to go in there and compete. I’m very fortunate for that. I’ll challenge myself to play at a high level, even where my age is. It’s been a lot of fun for me.”
Jason Witten said on Monday that there were "talks" of him returning to the Dallas Cowboys. 🧐
— Blogging The Boys (@BloggingTheBoys) August 10, 2020
Jason Witten on why he came to #Raiders “When you get this age, it’s all about the fit and the role and it made a lot of sense for me… It’s a really talented roster. It’s young and I’m going to come in an be a veteran presence for them."
— Levi Damien (@LeviDamien) August 10, 2020
After sitting out the entire 2018 season while working as a broadcaster for ESPN, Witten returned to the field last fall. He started all 16 games for the Cowboys, catching 63 passes for 529 yards and four touchdowns.
With the Raiders, he’ll add depth and experience to a tight end group that includes fifth-year pro Darren Waller, who exploded for 90 receptions, 1,145 yards and three touchdowns in 2019.