National Football League notebook: Cowboys TE Witten reportedly will retire

Dallas Cowboys' Jason Witten will reportedly retire, join ESPN on 'Monday Night Football'

Cowboys TE Jason Witten to retire, reportedly join 'Monday Night Football'

Even without finality, Jones spent some time talking about the tight ends - Geoff Swaim, Blake Jarwin and Rico Gathers - that would be left on the roster without Witten.

According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen and the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Witten will announce Friday that he is retiring from the Dallas Cowboys after being one of the top tight ends in the NFL for the past 15 seasons. There's Geoff Swaim, who caught two passes for 25 yards last season; undrafted second-year player Blake Jarwin; and basketball player turned tight end (and almost defensive end) Rico Gathers.

The 35 years-old, achieved 239 appearances, with 229 starts and notching 1,152 catches for 12,448-yard s and 68 touchdowns. Dallas will need their second and third pick just to make this offense more suitable for Dak Prescott.

If the arrangement is finalized, as expected, he will become the third former Cowboys player to work as a lead network broadcast analyst, joining Troy Aikman (Fox) and Tony Romo (CBS). With one more season, Witten would be the most tenured Dallas Cowboy of all-time with 16 seasons under his pads.

He also has 21 games in his career with more than 100 receiving yards, one of only seven tight ends to achieve that feat.

The Cowboys now must determine whether the tight end position becomes a priority for the second and third rounds of the National Football League draft Friday night.

Witten's move comes as a surprise to the Cowboys, who recently released Dez Bryant and suddenly have very little veteran presence in their receiving corps.

At No. 19 in the first round on Thursday night, the Cowboys had their pick of pass catchers.

The 49ers dealt Brown and the 143rd overall pick to New England on Friday for the 95th overall pick.

It was the first sign of Witten's legendary toughness.

Witten has appeared in every game since sitting out Week 5 of his rookie season. After averaging 11 yards-per-catch for most of his career, Witten has averaged under 10 yards-a-catch the last three seasons - including a career-low 8.9 in 2017.

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