Sports Spectrum Magazine Summer 2021

Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten likely to retire from NFL and join ESPN

Jason Witten is expected to announce his retirement from the NFL after 15 seasons, according to Chris Mortensen of ESPN.

Witten was to meet with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on Friday to discuss his future and make the decision to step away from professional football.

The 35-year-old tight end was selected by Dallas in the third round of the 2003 NFL Draft. Since then, he’s played in every game but one, and has caught more passes than any tight end in NFL history except Tony Gonzalez. The 11-time Pro Bowler led Dallas to four division titles and holds the Cowboys record for most receptions, most receiving yards, and most consecutive games played. In 2013, Witten won the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award.

Witten’s career on the field was Hall of Fame-worthy. Off the field, Witten grew up with an abusive father. He and his two brothers watched their mother endure physical and emotional abuse until he was 11 years old, when they moved in with his grandparents. Witten says it was during this time that his grandparents, especially his grandpa, Dave Rider, showed him how to be a man, but even more importantly, why it was important to know Jesus Christ as his Savior.

“They’re the ones that took us to church and led us to a relationship with Jesus Christ,” Witten told CBN. “That’s what changed our lives. We’re forever grateful for that.”

Witten says finding forgiveness was a very hard thing to do with the tough upbringing he had with his father, but when he was able to move past the bitterness and truly forgive, that’s when things started changing for the future Hall of Famer.

“If I talk about my life and overcoming the obstacles, I think it was truly finding forgiveness,” he said. “It allows you to grow and move forward in your own life. If I didn’t have that, I don’t think I would have had the career I had, the family I had, because there would have been a lot of resentment. It didn’t come easy. It took time. The freedom that comes with that is an amazing feeling.”

RELATED: Jason Witten, A Guided Star

Witten told CBN that living a life of serving others is what greatness is all about, and all of that starts with knowing who the Son of God is.

“When you constantly go to your relationship with Jesus, you understand that He is the way,” Witten said. “In my life, the redemption part of it is to be able to say, we went through it, we forgave and now look at our family, look at our life and the people that we’re reaching.”

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