“The fire inside of me to compete and play this game is just burning too strong,” Witten said in a statement. “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.”
During his 15 seasons with the Cowboys, Witten totaled more than 12,000 receiving yards and caught 68 touchdowns. He made the Pro Bowl 11 times and was voted first team All-Pro twice. His 1,152 career receptions rank fourth in NFL history.
Unlike his longtime teammate Tony Romo, Witten struggled during his first season on TV, failing to find chemistry with broadcast partners Joe Tessitore and Booger McFarland. Frequently, the future Hall of Famer was singled out for ridicule on Twitter.
Witten's return likely spells the end of incumbent starting tight end Geoff Swaim's time with the Cowboys.
If ESPN just dropped Jason Witten from this broadcast at halftime, would anyone notice or care?— Jeffrey Nye (@jeffreynye) September 11, 2018
Witten, who will be 37 when the 2019 season starts, will sign a one-year deal for $3.5 million, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.