January 24, 2013; Honolulu, HI, USA; NFC tight end Jason Witten of the Dallas Cowboys (82) looks on during practice for the 2013 Pro Bowl at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Former Vols Tight End Jason Witten Shows No Signs Of Slowing Down

Age is but a number.

While that’s a sentiment we all love to live by, it’s not necessarily true in the world of football. Coaches and general managers are always looking for the next best thing. They often go bananas when they see a 21 year old, that’s considered NFL ready, coming out in the draft. They’re ready to replace a well rounded veteran in their 30’s with that next best thing.

How many times have seen a veteran considered “done” and come out and greatly exceed expectations?

It happened just last year when then 36 year old Tony Gonzalez, a tight end for the Atlanta Falcons, announced that 2012 would be his last season.

A lot of folks didn’t expect much from the aging tight end, but he came out and had the fifth best yardage total of his career. A career that will one day be enshrined in the hall of fame. His season was impressive enough that he’s decided to stick around for yet another season.

I’ve noticed lately that a lot of people seem to be looking at former Tennessee Volunteer, and current Dallas Cowboys tight end, Jason Witten that same way, which is insane to me.

A lot of that speculation comes from the fact that Dallas has drafted two tight ends in the past two drafts.

James Hanna in 2012 and Gavin Escobar last month.

If anything the Cowboys have added these two tight ends for depth. Witten is only 31 years old (as of this week) so there’s virtually no chance the Cowboys are thinking about replacing the eight time pro-bowler.

Last season was one of Witten’s best with the Cowboys. His yardage total of 1,039 yards, was the second best of his career.

Even more impressive than that was his 110 receptions — yes 110! That’s a ridiculous number for a tight end, in fact it’s a single season record for a tight end.

The former Vol’s finest game came against the Giants last season, when he finished with 18 catches and 167 yards. His 18 catches were not only a record for receptions in a single game by a tight end, but also a record for most catches in a game by a Dallas Cowboy.

So no, we don’t think Witten is showing signs of slowing down any time soon.

Witten recently provided his thoughts to ESPN on the addition of Escorbar and how he’s feeling at age 31.

Witten: “It provides us an opportunity to use more 12 personnel. I think you have to understand that’s where this league is going to a little bit and offenses that have the most success seemed to be using it. Hopefully he can come in and play and be a big part of our offense.”

Witten: “I am going into my 11th year, I am not getting any younger but I feel great.”

The Knoxville native is a rare and under-appreciated talent. He plays in a town where Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and Miles Austin are going to grab more headlines then the blue-collared, show up to work and get it done Jason Witten. 

I don’t think Witten minds the lack of attention, he just cares about going out and winning football games.

 

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