As Witten told it, during his rookie campaign, following a broken jaw, the Cowboys coach walked into the trainers' room and told the tight end that "the best ones, they find a way" to play through injury. Parcells noted that availability is one of the best traits an NFL player can own. Witten missed one game with that broken jaw and played every single contest the rest of his career.
Witten spoke admirably about his former coach, who left the Cowboys in 2006. That respect is reciprocal.
"Jason Witten is what pro football is supposed to be about," Parcells told ESPN's Todd Archer on Thursday. "He came to the Cowboys, got himself established very early, maximized his potential as a player and sustained very, very good play for an exceptionally long period of time and made a significant contribution to the team every year. Now he's transitioning to another career by virtue of his reputation and his affiliation with the Cowboys and the success he has had. That's what pro football is supposed to be."
Aside from playing in 239 of 240 regular season games, Witten's numbers (1,152 receptions -- fourth all-time -- 12,448 yards, 68 TDs) make him a surefire Hall of Famer.
"I don't think there's much doubt he's going to wind up in there," Parcells said. "His credentials are certainly worthy."