Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys Hot Routes: Witten shares his five favorite TEs

Jason Witten’s five favorite TEs

Jason Witten might be considered one of the all-time great tight ends one day. He’s putting up numbers that could land him in Canton at some point. He should pass 10,000 receiving yards for his career early this season and is in good shape to finish with at least 1,000 receptions in his career. But Witten admires several of his peers and hopes to be in their category by the end of his career. His personal top-five at the position:

1Kellen Winslow Sr.: “More than anything, he was the first one to revolutionize the position and show you could have mismatches. He was too big, too strong for safeties and too athletic for linebackers. I think he was the first one to change the game from that standpoint.”

2Jay Novacek: “The thing that stood out about Jay is that if it was third-and-6, everyone in the stadium knew where the ball was going and you still couldn’t stop him. He was the first guy that I think kept the chains going and created that mismatch.”

3Tony Gonzalez: “Well, I mean, he’s the best ever. To do it as long as he did at the level he did is incredible. Every time he lined up, it was a mismatch.”

4Shannon Sharpe: “Shannon was just the guy that put tight ends on the map. Not only was he good, but he wasn’t afraid to tell you how good he was. He was athletic. He definitely had a lot of success but wasn’t afraid to tell anyone how successful he was.”

5Mike Ditka: “Going way back here, but he was just tough, hard-nosed. I love the way he played the game.”

Fond memories

Jason Garrett played with several of the game’s greats throughout his 12-year playing career in the NFL, including two from this year’s Hall of Fame class.

Garrett played with Michael Strahan from 2000-03 with the Giants and with Derrick Brooks in 2004 with Tampa Bay. Both were inducted into the Hall of Fame on Saturday.

“When you walk into a meeting and you walk out on a practice field and certainly come game day, those guys separate themselves,” Garrett said. “They’re different. They’re different physically, but they’re also different in their production, their leadership, their impact on their team, their influence on their team.”

Haley speaks

Former Cowboys defensive end Charles Haley was at practice Saturday afternoon and spoke with the team afterward. Haley didn’t reveal what he told the group but received a nice ovation when coach Jason Garrett introduced him. Former Cowboys Larry Allen and Nate Newton also attended Saturday’s practice.

Quote of the day

“He was the best and most iconic punter to ever play in the league. It does put us on the board more than what we used to be, so it’s a big deal. You’ve got the Ray Guy Award and all of that kind of stuff, so he definitely deserves it.” — Cowboys punter Chris Jones on Ray Guy being inducted into the Hall of Fame

Injury report

CB Morris Claiborne (right knee): Day-to-day.

DE DeMarcus Lawrence (right foot): Underwent surgery Thursday.

DT Terrell McClain (ankle): Hopes to begin running this week.

S Matt Johnson (hamstring): Out at least a week.

DE Anthony Spencer (knee surgery): Placed on PUP list and will be monitored daily.

DT Amobi Okoye (personal health issue): Placed on nonfootball injury list.

LB Will Smith (groin): Day-to-day.

FB J.C. Copeland (knee): Day-to-day.

OG Brian Clarke (groin): Day-to-day.

CB Sterling Moore (groin): Day-to-day.

DL Ben Bass (hamstring): Day-to-day.

OT Darrion Weems (shoulder): Day-to-day.

DE Ben Gardner (shoulder): Day-to-day.

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