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Jason Witten Decides To Unretire, Will Return To The Cowboys For 2019

Ryan Ford 28 Feb 2019

Retirement isn't generally an easy transition for anyone. Sure, the dream of not having to go to work every morning is real when you have to get up and go to work every morning, but after a while, that has to get boring, right?

And for pro athletes, it has to be even tougher. You've spent your whole life working towards one thing, and often, you're still pretty young when you suddenly don't have that in your life much anymore. So it's little wonder that the pros, and especially the elite performers, have trouble letting go.

Cowboys fans can rejoice, one of the franchise favorites is back in the blue and white after Jason Witten announced he's unretiring.

Wikimedia | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jason_Witten_(37319253724).jpg

After a season in the Monday Night Football broadcast booth, he's hanging up his mic and putting his spikes back on.

Apparently he just couldn't stand being off the field and felt compelled to get back out there, and the Cowboys wanted him back enough to offer him a one-year contract for $3.5 million.

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"The fire inside of me to compete and play this game is just burning too strong," he said in a statement.

Wikimedia | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jason_Witten_-_2018_SEC_Summerfest.jpg

"This team has a great group of rising young stars, and I want to help them make a run at a championship. This was completely my decision, and I am very comfortable with it. I'm looking forward to getting back in the dirt."

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Witten will be 37 by the time the next season starts.

Wikimedia | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jason_Witten_vs_Redskins_2017.jpg

He'll resume his role as the Cowboys' tight end, where he earned his way to 11 Pro Bowls over 15 seasons.

He holds the franchise records for receptions with 1,152, games played at 239, consecutive games at 236, starts at 229, and consecutive starts at 179. He'll also build on his longevity with the Cowboys — the next season will be his 16th, making him the longest serving Cowboy ever.

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Although his contract is just for one season, it's believed it might lead to more work for Witten.

Wikimedia | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jason_Witten_vs_Redskins_2015.jpg

As ESPN's Adam Schefter reported, some folks in the Cowboys organization have considered Witten's potential for coaching for a long time, and returning to the field now might help him transition into that role.

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And it looks like even Witten knows that his role on the field might be reduced in this upcoming season.

Wikimedia | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jason_Witten_2015.jpg

As ESPN reported, he'll likely serve as a mentor to the young tight ends on the team who ranked 20th in the NFL for both receiving yards and touchdowns.

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Reaction to Witten's return on Twitter has been generally positive, although perhaps not for the reason he'd like.

It seems a lot of fans were not impressed with Witten's season in the broadcast booth and see his return to football as a plus for both the team and the show.

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He's far from the first athlete to unretire after spending time away from the sport.

Wikimedia | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Brett_Favre.jpg

Brett Favre famously came out of retirement at age 39, after two years away from football; Roger Clemens retired three times, in 2003, 2006, and 2007, and Michael Jordan came back to the Chicago Bulls in 1995 after trying baseball for two years.

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Few have found much success, however.

Wikimedia | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:George_Foreman_2009.jpg

Hockey's Mario Lemieux, for example, dominated in his return, but the king of comebacks has to be George Foreman, who quit boxing in 1974, and then became the oldest person ever to win a heavyweight belt 20 years later at the age of 45.

h/t ESPN

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