The immediate future of stalwart Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten is unclear Friday after team owner Jerry Jones confirms the two have spoken and that the future Hall of Famer will take the next few days with his family to consider whether or not he will play a 16th season in the NFL.
Before introducing the team's top draft pick to the media at The Star Friday afternoon, Jones issued a short statement saying he'd talked with Witten earlier in the day and that no definitive decision has been reached about his future in the NFL.
"He has some things to think about and discuss with his family from a professional perspective," Jones said. "He also told me those things are going to require a few more days of consideration, at least through the weekend. He has not made any decisions that are definite at this time."
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Jones said he and Witten have spoken a lot in recent weeks and that he would forever keep the details of those discussions private.
Rumors about Witten's departure have been swirling for months. NBC 5's Newy Scruggs and Jean-Jacques Taylor discussed the possibility of Witten leaving America's Team in March. See video of that discussion below.
Those rumors gained steam Friday morning, though, when just after 9 a.m. ESPN's Chris Mortensen tweeted the longtime receiver was planning to retire to join the network's broadcast team as a lead analyst, but that he would meet with team owner Jerry Jones before making a final decision.
Mortensen's tweet was followed up by one from NFL Insider Ian Rapoport who said the report about the 15-year veteran was true.
Just last week, Witten seemingly laid the rumors about his retirement to rest when he said he planned to be with the Cowboys at the start of the season and hoped to play until he was 40.
Witten turns 36 on May 6. He is signed through 2021 after agreeing to a four-year extension in 2017 worth about $30 million.
NBC Sports' Mike Florio reports that ESPN may be putting together a three-person broadcast team with Witten, another analyst and play-by-play announcer Joe Tessitore.
In 15 seasons with the Cowboys, Witten, a probable future Hall of Famer, has accumulated 1,152 receptions for 12,448 yards with 68 touchdowns. In those 15 years, Witten has only fumbled the ball eight times, two of which were recovered.
Should Witten leave he'll be the team's second high-profile player to retire and enter the broadcast booth in as many seasons. Witten's longtime quarterback and friend, Tony Romo, retired before the 2017 season and joined the CBS broadcast team. If Witten heads to ESPN, it would also mean the lead analyst job at all three networks will be held by former players who spent their entire careers with the Cowboys. The other is Fox's Troy Aikman, who won three Super Bowls as quarterback in the 1990s.