Jason Witten had a long year away from the Dallas Cowboys and watched a lot of football.
During his time in the Monday Night Football booth, Witten gained an greater understanding of the NFL landscape, hosting ESPN’s primetime game every week.
But when it came to Dak Prescott, Witten couldn’t fully understand the progression he had made until he saw it in person, on the field.
The future Hall of Fame tight end had some big compliments for Prescott, who is entering his fourth year in the league and helped will the leadership void when Witten retired.
“He’s always been a great leader and how he’s gone about it, but he sets the tone for this football team and you can see the improvement,” Witten told the Cowboys official site. “I know I can, from being away for a year, with how much he’s improved with his game as a quarterback.”
“I just think, from my perspective, the accuracy has been unbelievable with throwing to us,” Witten said. “The velocity on the ball, the anticipation of the throws. We run certain routes and nobody notices it, but that ball is coming out – when you’re coming out of the cut, the ball is already on you.”
Witten announced he would return to the team in March through a statement, bringing to close rampant speculation of his return to football. He simply saw too much potential in a team loaded with stars to stay on the sideline.
“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.”
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It’s unknown how big of a role Witten will play in the offense, but among the things Witten brings to the table in spades is his leadership ability. Linebacker Sean Lee has not made it a secret how much he’s enjoyed having the veteran TE back in the fold, even if it does come with a bit of smack talk.
“He’s a Hall of Famer on the field, off the field and as a trash talker,” Lee said. “He’s going to challenge you in every way possible. And when he does, he’s going to talk trash and let you know. When you come into practice you have to prepared for his intensity.”