Witten, who turned 30 earlier this month, understands that his career is on the downward slope, and that championship windows can close quickly in the NFL.
"You try not to think about the window," the Dallas Cowboys tight end told the Dallas Morning News on Saturday. "But obviously, we're realists. We understand where it's at. I feel great and we're playing great."
Witten will enter his 10th season with the Cowboys later this year, while Romo can claim nine seasons and star defender DeMarcus Ware will be up to eight come September. As the team's core ages, Witten intimated that the franchise's mindset has focused squarely on returning to relevance this season.
"It's about now," said Witten, who has one playoff game in his career. "I think that's how this whole organization thinks, from owner to head coach to veteran players to rookie players. That's the way this league works."
For inspiration -- or motivation -- Witten pointed to the run the New York Giants put together at the end of the last season that catapulted the team to another Super Bowl title. The Cowboys' regular season-finale loss to the Giants still stings Witten, but he told the Morning News that there's a lesson to be learned from watching his rivals' success.
"Hey, give them credit. They made the plays they needed to make and got in the playoffs and went on a run," Witten said. "For us, we need to learn from that and not feel sorry for ourselves from that standpoint but allow that to be a game-changer for us to realize that every minute matters and you can't let an opportunity like that slip."