OXNARD, Calif. _ Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten will share the Hall of Fame celebration for his boss from all 15 of his NFL seasons: team owner Jerry Jones. The visit to Canton, Ohio, this weekend begs the question: Will he get in?
Obviously, his teammates and coaches will say yes. And he will have a compelling argument about five years after he retires, whenever that time comes. The 35-year-old Witten isn't thinking about that now.
Early in the season, Witten should become the storied Dallas franchise's leader in games at 225 (passing Ed "Too Tall" Jones) and yards receiving at 11,905, eclipsing Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin.
Witten is one of two tight ends with at least 1,000 catches and 10,000 yards receiving. The other, Tony Gonzalez, will be eligible in 2019.
Of the four tight ends with 10,000 yards receiving, the only one eligible for enshrinement, Shannon Sharpe, is in the Hall. Antonio Gates, still active with the Los Angeles Chargers, is on that list with Gonzalez, Witten and Sharpe.
"I think I'd be lying to say that's not one of the things that you hope as a player," Witten said. "That's the highest honor, individually. Obviously we don't play it for that. But individually, that's what you hope you can be a part of."