Cowboys’ Jason Witten Enjoying Playing, Talks Possibly Coaching After Retirment
Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten has been playing for over a decade and the 35-year old is still productive.
Witten, who is in his 15th season, is no stranger to speculation regarding his future beyond this season and whether or not retirement is on his mind.
“I don’t have any avocado salad stories for you guys or anything good like that, but, you know, I feel damn good,” Witten said (h/t ESPN).
“I really do. I know what the expectations and standards are for me and the way I play, and certainly I’ll be the first one to say if I don’t feel like I can do it. But I feel really good.”
Witten has an interest in coaching after his playing days are over. Witten’s grandfather, Dave Rider, who he calls the most influential man in his life, was his high school coach in Elizabethton, Tennessee where Witten’s brothers, Shawn and Ryan, currently coach.
“People always laugh about it even when I said, ‘Nah, I’m not going to do that one day,'” Witten said. “We’ll see where that takes you, but I just think very early on athletics and football, in specific, that was my place.”
“I would just lean on everything that I’ve prepared for my whole life. Had great coaches around me at every step of the way in my career,” Witten said.
“I’ve had coaches that believe that you motivate within and other coaches that believe they do the motivating … I hope that I’d be very honest, demanding, high standards, not come off those standards in which what allows you to win and lose. But also just I hope if anything could leap off is my love and passion for this game.
“I believe there’s a certain way you play it and coach it, and I think if they’re around me as a coach that that would be more than anything else they would see that. There’s got to be trust that’s unwavering. I hope I would show that in the way I communicated.”
Witten’s “eye for the game” has impressed teammates, including Cowboys’ tight end James Hanna.
“I truly still don’t fully understand how he sees everything he does, which I think I’m pretty sure gets frustrating for him because other people don’t see everything as easily as he does on the field,” Hanna said.
“Everybody can see stuff on tape, but it’s different when you’re live. He just has an instinct, a knack for it.”
“I constantly am communicating that and asking questions,” Witten said. “Had great coaches around here that have allowed me to pick their brains [about] a lot of different things from that standpoint. But I think more than anything else, it helps me to prepare as a player … It’s a mental game. It 100 percent is a mental game, especially when you’re in the area that I’m in. That’s why I work so hard at it. It’s almost like you’ve got the answers to the test before you take the test.”
Witten’s speeches have resonated, along with his leadership with the team.
“He gets it. He understands how the game works,” Cowboys’ offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said.
“He knows there’s times when you got to be on players, and it’s not about being a player’s best friend. It’s about gaining their respect and pushing them. And also knowing there are times you got to put your arm around somebody and get their attention and get their confidence back sometimes. He knows both sides of that as a player. He knows that it’s not easy. He has a great understanding of the profession.”