DALLAS — Count NFL on FOX color commentator Troy Aikman as another in the camp who endorses tight end Jason Witten coming out of retirement for a Dallas Cowboys return.
While at serving as honorary co-chair for the 31st annual Children's Cancer Fund gala, Aikman emphasized that Witten should keep playing if he still has the desire.
"I think that, at my age now, if I wanted to come back and play, I couldn't do it," Aikman said. "I just think that if you feel any — and I didn't want to come back. But if there is any part of you that wants to play again, then I encourage those guys to do it because you only get one shot at it. So, for him to want to jump back in and empty his bucket, I think it's pretty awesome."
The Cowboys have to think it's pretty awesome, too. Their trio of current tight ends in Rico Gathers, Dalton Schultz, and Blake Jarwin caught 42 passes for 468 yards and three touchdowns last year. In Witten's most recent season with the Cowboys, 2017, the franchise's all-time leader in games played collected 63 passes for 560 yards and five touchdowns.
Dallas also seemingly endorsed Witten's comeback by not using one of its eight picks on a tight end. While Witten has said that the football team belongs to the youth, even to the point of not asking right guard Zack Martin for his locker back, there is a concern that Witten being the top tight end could curtail any of the progress Jarwin showed at the end of the 2018 season.
"I just think that he's of the mindset that the best player plays, and I think that's the way I believe," said Aikman. "No matter what your age is that if somebody is better than you, they should play. If you're better than them, then you should play. I think he accepts that. So, I think he's going into it with the right perspective and my guess is he's going to get a lot of playing time."
If Witten can legitimately beat out the tight ends on the roster and provide quarterback Dak Prescott with another third-down safety blanket, then it could be one of the missing elements to help the Cowboys qualify for consecutive postseasons for the first time since 2006-07.
Do you agree with Troy Aikman that the Cowboys are better with Jason Witten back in the fold? Share your thoughts on the TE situation in Dallas with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.