Jerry Jones said no final decision has been made on Jason Witten retiring from the Dallas Cowboys, but best to plan like he has played his last game.
Because he has. Once a player has gone this far into thinking about retiring, he's effectively retired.
Witten will turn 36 in May, and it's time.
Good for Jason Witten. Go to ESPN's Monday Night booth and call 'em like you see 'em. Enjoy your money.
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The man earned the right to do whatever he wants, but we should suspend this silly notion he might just come back. He's gone.
While the effect of Witten retiring will be significant in the locker room and depth chart, the greatest impact of this decision will be felt by the head coach. Jason Garrett just lost his bestest buddy in the world, and he should worry accordingly.
There was no bigger, more influential "Garrett Guy," than Jason Witten.
As long as 82 was in the locker room, the head coach had a big, vocal, instrumental support system that had his back, no matter how average the results. Witten was Garrett's security blanket. Now he can no longer lean on Witten to ensure the players always respected the chain of command, and the head coach.
Witten wanted Garrett to become the head coach when he was the offensive coordinator back in '07 and '08. Witten always knew Garrett wanted this job — to be the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys — and the two would take care of each other.
The pair also respected the game, and the power structure of a coaching staff. As long as Wade Phillips was in charge, they might not have always agreed with Uncle Wade, but both men respected the position and behaved accordingly.
When Wade was fired midway through the '10 season, Witten had his guy in place when Garrett was named interim head coach, and eventually got the job he always wanted.
No matter the results, no matter the statistics, no matter the record, Garrett had the support of one of the most important men in the entire locker room. The two believed in each other.
You can't quantify how much that type of unwavering support is worth to a head coach who has won only one playoff game in his tenure.
A coach with no Lombardi Trophy on his resume, or fat football ring of some sort on his finger, must be able to point to something tangible so his players know that when times are bad, their guy knows what he is doing.
Witten's support was Garrett's Lombardi Trophy.
Now that trophy is retiring.
Another voice will replace Witten's, and there are any number of candidates to fill the void. Sean Lee. Dak Prescott. Travis Frederick. Zack Martin. Jaylen Smith, if he's a good player.
To fill such a role the player must be good, reliable, healthy, visible, and around the ball. So, Dak, tag - you're it.
Witten retiring was always a when rather than an if, and while the announcement isn't quite official, we're there.
Jason Witten is done, and Jason Garrett just lost his best friend.