Jason Witten admits it’s taking a little longer than expected to reach the 1,000-catch milestone.
There’s a good chance it happens Monday night in Washington, though. After all, Witten is only two catches shy of joining that exclusive fraternity and has caught at least two passes in 184 of 202 career games.
The only downside is that Tony Romo won’t be the quarterback throwing it to him. Instead, chances are it will come from Matt Cassel, the veteran who is filling in once again for the injured Romo.
“I guess it’s a bummer that Tony is not going to be the guy to do it just because so much of our success was together,” said Witten, who has caught 649 of his 998 career receptions from Romo.
“But ultimately I don’t need a catch number to define our success and our journey together. I’ll look back on how I got there and he was a huge part of that and still is a huge part of my success, our success together, so I don’t think that will affect [that].
“Sure, I’d love him to throw it, but at this point, you’re just thrilled that anybody will throw it to you and you can reach a milestone such as that, so I reflect back on the journey, not just the number of catches.”
Witten would become only the second tight end in history to join the 1,000-catch club along with Tony Gonzalez, and it would seemingly cement his case for Canton. But Witten is not overly concerned with personal achievements at this point in his career.
Witten has made it clear that the window of opportunity is now for him and Romo. They have never reached the NFC championship game, let alone the Super Bowl, and the number of shots are dwindling every year.
“Ultimately it’s about winning and I think it’s been clearly stated over my career here and recently that championships are what you want and need,” Witten said. “That’s all I focus on. I don’t know what the catch number means.”
So it’s no surprise that Witten is among the veterans in the locker room keeping hope alive in what seems to be a lost season. Yes, the Cowboys are 3-8 and without their starting quarterback … but they remain only two games back in the NFC East with five to play.
In Witten’s mind, the season can still be saved.
“Being in the hunt allows you to have a little bit of energy because most years when you’re 3-8 you’re not in the hunt,” Witten said. “But I think more than anything else our focus has been on how do we play better and the urgency that comes with that.”