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Ex-Cowboys, Raiders TE Jason Witten to retire from NFL

Former Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten (82) finished as the Cowboys' all-time leader in receptions (1,215) and receiving yards (12,977). File Photo by Ian Halperin/UPI
Former Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten (82) finished as the Cowboys' all-time leader in receptions (1,215) and receiving yards (12,977). File Photo by Ian Halperin/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Former Dallas Cowboys and Las Vegas Raiders tight end Jason Witten is retiring from the NFL after 17 seasons.

Witten announced Wednesday that he plans to sign a one-day contract and retire as a member of the Cowboys in March when his deal with the Raiders expires at the end of the 2020-21 league year.

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The 38-year-old Witten spent 16 seasons with the Cowboys and played the 2020 campaign with the Raiders. No tight end in NFL history has played more games than Witten (271), and only Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez has more receptions and yards at the position.

"A coach once told me, 'The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example,'" Witten told ESPN on Wednesday. "As I hang it up, I walk away knowing that for 17 seasons I gave it my absolute all. I am proud of my accomplishments as a football player on the field and the example I tried to set off of it.

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"Football is a great game that has taught me many valuable lessons, and I look forward to passing on that knowledge to the next generation."

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Witten initially retired from the NFL following the 2017 season and spent 2018 as an analyst on ESPN's Monday Night Football. He later decided to return to the Cowboys in 2019.

Witten, an 11-time Pro Bowl selection, was picked in the third round of the 2003 NFL Draft out of Tennessee. He finished as the Cowboys' all-time leader in receptions (1,215) and receiving yards (12,977).

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In 271 career games between the Cowboys and Raiders, Witten recorded 1,228 catches for 13,046 yards and 74 touchdowns.

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