Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and coach Jason Garrett shot down an ESPN report that the team reached out to former tight end Jason Witten and tried to lure him out of the ESPN Monday Night Football broadcast booth where he serves as an analyst.
According to the report, it was Garrett, who made multiple attempts this season to get Witten to come out of retirement and help the Cowboys in their postseason push.
On his radio show on 105.3 The Fan Monday morning, Garrett emphatically said “No” when asked if he reached out to Witten about returning.
And following the Cowboys’ 29-23 overtime victory over the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday, Jones said there was no truth to the Cowboys’ being interested in Witten. And, per a source, the subject of trying to bring back Witten has never been discussed in the scouting department.
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“We haven’t at all,” Jones said unequivocally. “What you are seeing is probably lingering aspects of Jason (Witten) saying I will never quit wanting to play. So you are seeing that. There has been no serious [discussion] and none serious that would be of the nature of him seriously playing.”
Jones said his only recent discussions regarding his former tight end who retired in April to do Monday Night Football came at the College Hall of Fame ceremony last week when he talked with ESPN analyst Joe Tessitore, one of Witten’s broadcast partners.
“He (Tessitore) was the master of ceremony and we talked about how great a night Jason had Monday night. I did spend some time talking to Joe about that. But that is the only time I spent with him talking about Jason Witten, only about Monday night, not about coming back.”
It’s ironic that the report of the Cowboys’ interest in Witten came on a day when his young replacements had a breakout performance. The Cowboys got 11 receptions from the tight ends in the 29-23 victory against the Eagles, led by Blake Jarwin’s career-high seven catches for 56 yards. Rookie fourth-round pick Dalton Schultz had a career-high three catches for 37 yards, including two for 21 on the game-winning drive in overtime.
“Yeah, they really did,” coach Jason Garrett said when asked about the big day from the tight ends. “A real tribute to (quarterback) Dak (Prescott). I thought he did a good job reading through things and getting the ball to the right guy at different times. Blake Jarwin really came up big over and over and over again. Made some contested catches, made some strong runs after the catch and made some positive plays. And then Schultzy at the end, a big play on that last drive.”