One day Jason Witten will go into the Cowboys' Ring of Honor. And likely the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
But all we needed from him Sunday night in New York was a decent stiff-arm.
Without one as a touchdown-generating exclamation point, the Cowboys collapsed in a kick-to-the-crotch, 27-24 loss to the Jets.
Witten is already the best tight end in Cowboys' history -- sorry, Jay Novacek -- and last night he almost sealed an upset opener. With Dallas leading 24-17 Witten beat safety Eric Smith on a seam route and hauled in a beautiful Tony Romo pass perfectly in stride and headed for what would have likely been the deal-sealing touchdown.
But as safety Jim Leonhard caught him inside the 10, Witten attempted to fend him off and get into the end zone. No such luck. The play -- with 10:25 remianing -- set up Dallas at the 3 and had owner Jerry Jones jumping in his suite, but the Cowboys found multiple ways to screw it up after that.
As is, it was a 64-yard catch-and-run. But it wasn't the knockout punch because Romo later fumbled, threw an interception and the Cowboys allowed a blocked punt for a touchdown in their come-from-ahead-loss.
Weak stiff-arm notwithstanding, Witten bears no blame.
He caught six passes for 110 yards and on Felix Jones' touchdown sweep in the third quarter he blocked not one but two Jets out of the play.
In other words, he earned his big payday.
The Cowboys on Sunday made sure Witten will retire a Cowboy, giving him a five-year contract extension worth $37 million.
Witten also went over 7,000 yards for his career, making him only the 5th Cowboys receiver to do so and the 7th NFL tight end. The guy does everything right on and off the field. On a day when a tough loss included more bad news (Orlando Scandrick out three weeks with fractured foot), it's nice to rely on good ol' Witten.
Now if he only had a stiff-arm.