Jason Witten on being back: 'I feel like a little kid'

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  • By Grant Gordon NFL.com
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Only a season away from the playing field and Jason Witten decided to strap up once more.

The Dallas Cowboys tight end's decision to come back is boding well for the soon-to-be 37-year-old, who's figuratively driving to the fountain of youth on a regular basis.

"There's been nothing like it," Witten said Saturday ahead of his induction into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame via ESPN.com's Todd Archer. "I feel like a little kid when my car pulls in. I'm looking forward to the next six, seven months."

Through all weathers, Witten was a model of prolific consistency during his career, missing just one game over 15 seasons during what was one of the finest tenures in tight end history.

Witten's 1,152 receptions for 12,448 yards and 68 touchdowns are statistics that show up prominently across a slew of impressive lists.

The catches and yards are tops in Cowboys history.

They're also second all-time among tight ends in league chronicle.

His catches are fourth all-time among all pass-catchers, joining the likes of Larry Fitzgerald, Tony Gonzalez and the G.O.A.T. Jerry Rice.

Still, the last season Witten played in 2017 saw him tally but 63 catches for 560 yards, which were his lowest totals since his rookie season of 2003. Just how effective the durable now-former Monday Night Football commentator can be is obviously a looming question after he announced his return and inked a one-year deal worth as much as $5 million.

Thus far, he's grinning ear to ear about being back, though.

"I'm loving it," Witten said. "I'm invigorated by the process of going back in there. I really feel like obviously I've got a lot of energy coming back in there. I'm excited, and I think you just get back in there. That's what I've enjoyed the most, getting with the guys, start looking at some tape and working out with coach [Mike] Woicik and the strength staff some."

Dallas will tackle the 2019 season as the reigning NFC East champion and coming off a campaign in which it advanced the Divisional Round of the dance. With a young nucleus, there are high hopes.

Another eye-popping stat of Witten's was his 11 Pro Bowls -- second only to Gonzalez among tight ends in NFL lore. However, the most important bowl of them all proved elusive for Witten. With a fire for competition still lit, the chase for the ultimate prize seems also to have been at the forefront of his decision to return to Dallas.

"I said it when I retired a year ago: I don't know that anybody really knows when it's their time to go. And I was no different," Witten said. "Look, I had a great experience in the booth. I saw a different perspective. I saw the league from a different point of view in getting the opportunity to go see 31 other teams and how they build their team and go about it.

"But at the same time, I saw the Cowboys team start to come together and a lot of stars and young stars that love the game, and when Jerry [Jones] presented me that opportunity to come back, I was just extremely excited. I think more than anything else, it was just something that was tugging on me inside to say that maybe there's something still inside left to go out there and go after that championship."

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