Witten will not play football, but he will be an analyst and a giraffe

That one story we can’t stop talking about, in 180 seconds:

Yeah, it’s the Jason Witten thing — the Dallas Cowboys’ trustiest, most time tested and treasured player, the tight end who played his entire career with the same team, no matter how habitually they broke his golden heart. He played more games as a Cowboy than any other. He announced Monday night his retirement from the team and the National Football League.

The good news: we will see him as the lead analyst for ESPN’s Monday Night Football. They made the 35-year-old an offer he couldn’t refuse.

Did you know that both the NFL and NBA have broadcasting schools and boot camps for retired players? The New Yorker has an interesting old piece on that.

Wittten says:

“I was never the most talented, never the flashiest,” he told the New York Times. “I relied on grit.” The Times reminds us of the good days — “in 2007 when his helmet was knocked off after a reception against the Philadelphia Eagles and he ran another 30 yards without it.” But they also remind us that Witten “played in an era when the Cowboys had more playoff disappointments than successes. His career playoff record is 2-6, and he never got to a conference championship game.” Geez, that sucks.

Care for football or not, let’s have a look at how much this dude is going to be missed:

Former QB Tony Romo, after having a couple of days to mull things over, penned a personal, tearjerker of an open letter to his buddy, No. 82. “Jason, you have set the standard for every player and coach who walks through the Cowboys facility that there’s one way to play and there’s one way to practice. …And guess what, you can be a great teammate and husband and father while doing it. To the best I ever played with.” Warning: Sniffles may occur.

Here’s how some of his other colleagues reacted

In related news, The Dallas Zoo named its newborn giraffe — you guessed it —Witten. “We’re shifting from our typical tradition of naming a baby after its native heritage to honor a Texas legend and all around great guy,” Dallas Zoo President Gregg Hudson says. “We’re all huge fans of Jason, he’s a real role model — on the field and in our community.”

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