Twitter overflows with love for Jason Witten following his retirement

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Longtime Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten has officially retired from the NFL today to become a lead analyst on ESPN's Monday Night Football broadcast.

"He is simply the best example of what you want a football player and person to be, on and off the field", said Garrett, who has coached Witten the past eight seasons.

Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said last Friday that he met with Witten multiple times that week and the veteran tight end needed a few days to contemplate his future.

The Cowboys drafted Witten in the third round of the 2003 NFL Draft and he spent 15 years with the team making an impact nearly immediately. Drafted by the Cowboys as the 69th overall pick in 2003, he played in every regular season game in 14 of his 15 campaigns with the team. He also finished first in Cowboys history in career receptions (leading Michael Irvin by 452 grabs) and receiving yards (12,448, the second most of a tight end in National Football League history), and third in receiving touchdowns with 68. We wish Jason the best of luck in his new broadcasting career.

On Sunday, ESPN reported the 11-time Pro Bowl selection would decide whether to continue playing or not by Wednesday night.

Witten is third on the Cowboys' list with 68 touchdown catches.

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"The hardest part of this decision was knowing that I would never be able to hand you that Lombardi Trophy", Witten added. "ESPN can only hope Witten is as successful - and the Cowboys can only hope to identify a young tight end who replaces Witten as well as Dak Prescott has replaced Romo". "Other players might have been more talented, but no one was going to outwork me".

"If I've learned anything along the way in the last 15 years, it's that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people won't forget how you made them feel".

Witten is a sure-fire Hall of Famer.

Dallas tight ends now include Rico Gathers, Blake Jarwin and Geoff Swaim. In the meantime, the Cowboys are coming off a disappointing 9-7 season.

If Witten had played for the Cowboys, his base salary would have been $1.05 million, with incentives that could come close to doubling that.