FRISCO - Is it an open secret that when Jason Witten ends his NFL playing career - he's 16 years in so far - he wants to go into coaching. On Thursday, as he and his Dallas Cowboys faced the reality of a possible end to their season, the iconic tight end discussed a possible finish to his illustrious career.
Witten acknowledged that "it's a possibility'' that Sunday's game against visiting Washington might be his farewell. "I'm aware of that, but really, one of the things when I came back to play I was committed to going out there and playing every game and opportunity. ... There will be time to make that decision, but I do not envision this being my last game."
Witten is clever enough in his delivery to understand full-well that by saying he doesn't "envision'' this being his goodbye that he might simply mean that his level of commitment doesn't allow such "vision.''
The fact is, at 38, he's already retired once (to spend 2018 as ESPN's "Monday Night Football," analyst) and it would be a super-human effort to keep the thought from popping into his head again. Indeed, while he insists he's played up to his expectations (he's been an every-game starter and is third on the team in catches with 59 for 505 yards and four touchdowns) - "I'm proud of the way I've played,'' he said - he also openly talked about the world of coaching.
"I think it will be a pretty quick decision,'' he said of his retirement choice coming immediately after this season's final game. "When I’m done playing, (coaching is) something I’d like to do, for sure.''
At what level would Witten like to coach?
"Right here,'' Witten said, again cleverly leaving the listener responsible for determining if "right here'' means "the NFL'' or "the Cowboys.''
Based on my conversations with Witten and with the Jones family's noteworthy admiration for him (Jerry thinks of him as being "John Wayne''), it's impossible to imagine Witten being allowed to go coach tight ends in Tampa or Cleveland or wherever.
And Witten, when talking about the head coaching job in Dallas, hinted that he sees it similarly.
Sure, Witt. And is it a job you'd want some day?
Witten grinned and walked away. Not saying anything. Cleverly.