DALLAS — Tight end Jason Witten has decided he isn't done playing yet, the Cowboys announced Thursday.
Witten retired from the NFL last May, but the future Hall of Famer is coming back to the Cowboys for what will be his 16th pro season. Witten played 15 years for the Cowboys from 2003-17, which included 11 Pro Bowls, the most in team history by any offensive player.
He spent the 2018 season as an analyst on ESPN's Monday Night Football but decided he wants to return to the gridiron in 2019. The Cowboys retained his rights throughout the 2018 season, so he will return to the only team he has known as a pro.
“The fire inside of me to compete and play this game is just burning too strong,” Witten said in a statement. “This team has a great group of rising young stars, and I want to help them make a run at a championship. This was completely my decision, and I am very comfortable with it. I’m looking forward to getting back in the dirt.”
Witten will rejoin the Cowboys, who finished 10-6 and won a playoff game before falling to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC’s divisional round.
ESPN, meanwhile, says they will determine their plans to replace Witten “in the coming weeks.” The network released a statement thanking Witten for his year on Monday Night Football.