The reaction to Witten's announcement drew wide praise throughout the NFL, including from one of his former coaches that he will join in the Pro Football Hall of Fame someday.
"Jason Witten is what pro football is supposed to be about," Bill Parcells, who was the head coach in Dallas for four seasons from 2003-06, told ESPN. "He came to the Cowboys, got himself established very early, maximized his potential as a player and sustained very, very good play for an exceptionally long period of time and made a significant contribution to the team every year."
Witten's career with the Cowboys began in Parcells' first season with the club, after he was selected in the third round of the NFL Draft out of the University of Tennessee.
It didn't take long for Witten to make his mark with Dallas. He made the Pro Bowl in each of Parcells' final three seasons en route to tying Hall of Famer Bob Lilly for the franchise record with 11 Pro Bowlselections.
Witten played his entire career with the Cowboys and walked away as the franchise leader in games played (239), receptions (1,152) and receiving yards (12,448). He also is third in receiving touchdowns (68).
A first-team All-Pro selection in 2007 and 2010, Witten's receptions total rank fourth in NFL history behind Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice (1,549), tight end Tony Gonzalez (1,325) and Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (1,234).
In addition, Witten is second behind Gonzalez in career receiving yards and Pro Bowl appearances by a tight end.
By choosing the broadcast booth as his new arena, Witten follows in the footsteps of his former quarterback Tony Romo, who is an analyst for CBS Sports.
Parcells, the only coach to lead four different teams to the postseason, also went into broadcasting. He currently is an NFL analyst for ESPN and called Witten's move a natural progression.
"Now he's transitioning to another career by virtue of his reputation and his affiliation with the Cowboys and the success he has had," said Parcells. "That's what pro football is supposed to be."