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Witten Officially Retires; Will Join ESPN To Work MNF Booth
It's official: Jason Witten informed Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and head coach Jason Garrett he will retire to join the Monday Night Football crew.

Witten's decision about a week after it became known the future Hall of Famer was expected to retire and join the booth. The tight end reportedly debated the decision over the weekend, with the Cowboys' brass attempting to convince him to return for one more season.

But that won't happen.

As's Kevin Patra points out, Witten ends his career as one of the best tight ends in NFL history, totaling 1,152 catches for 12,448 yards and 68 touchdowns. Witten walks away ranked fourth all-time in receptions, behind only Jerry Rice (1,549), Tony Gonzalez (1,325) and Larry Fitzgerald (1,234).

An 11-time Pro Bowler, Witten holds several NFL records, including most receptions in a single season by a tight end (110 in 2012) and most catches in a game by a tight end (18 in 2012). The sure-handed Witten also owns a cornucopia of team records, including most career receptions, most career receiving yards and most consecutive seasons with a reception, among others. Witten's 68 career receiving touchdowns ranks third in Cowboys history and fifth all-time among tight ends in NFL history.

Witten joined the Cowboys as a third-round pick in 2003 out of Tennessee, quickly growing into one of the most reliable pass-catchers in the NFL. After starting his career with a revolving quarterback situation that included Quincy Carter, Vinny Testaverde, and Drew Bledsoe, Witten found a groove as Tony Romo's security blanket.

Witten and Romo became one of the NFL's most prolific duos, as well as BFFs, leading to the tight end's two All-Pro honors (2007, 2010). Romo-to-Witten on third down became an agonizing nightmare that regularly woke defensive coordinators from their sleep.

As suggested, Witten, who will turn 36 on Sunday, is still a good enough player that the Cowboys were hoping to keep him. But the 15 production diminished last season. His 560 yards receiving in 2017 was the lowest since his rookie campaign, and his usual stellar blocking began to fall off.

Witten's retirement leaves Dallas with young question marks at the tight end position in Rico Gathers, Blake Jarwin, Geoff Swaim and incoming rookie Dalton Schultz.

The four of them have a combined nine career catches between them, all by Swaim.'s Todd Archer notes that Witten had 19 games in his career with at least nine catches.

In other words, fantasy owners shouldn't be in a huge rush to land any of the remaining Cowboys tight ends in season-long leagues. That said, Gathers flashed a bit last season; if we see signs he can continue to progress when training camp opens, the former basketball standout could be worth a last-round flyer in best-ball formats.