CHANGING PLANS

Cowboys' Witten reportedly to retire, pursue gig on Monday Night Football

Cowboys' Witten reportedly to retire, pursue gig on Monday Night Football
Jason Witten might be saying goodbye to football. Wikipedia

The Dallas Cowboys are in the national spotlight (as usual) this week, hosting the NFL Draft. The team, the city and Jerry Jones are all the talk of the NFL.

Leave it to the Cowboys to upstage themselves.

Longtime Cowboy tight end Jason Witten reportedly will retire and become lead analyst on Monday Night Football, replacing Jon Gruden, who left to take over as coach of the Oakland Raiders. The report says it is not official, but all indications are Witten’s football career is over.

Witten, who turns 36 a week from Sunday, will have played 15 years in the NFL. He recently had stated he planned to play “until he was 40.” Apparently those plans changed when the Monday Night Football gig became available.

If the reports are true, Witten ends his likely Hall of Fame career as the Cowboys all-time leader in receptions (1,152), receiving yards (12,448), games played (239) and third in touchdowns (68). He was selected to 11 Pro Bowls and is fourth all-time in receiving yards in the NFL, second all-time amond tight ends.

That it would happen during the draft at least allows the Cowboys to address the position over the next two days. On Friday, they selected Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch with their first-round pick.

If Witten is leaving, it will represent yet another big name departing during what is clearly a transition time for the franchise. Last year, Tony Romo retired to the broadcast booth. Recently the Cowboys cut longtime star receiver Dez Bryant. And Witten is the most accomplished of them all. It’s clear that this is now Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot’s team.

The draft will continue in Dallas over the next two days, but in true Cowboys fashion, it will take a back seat to an even bigger story involving the team: the retirement of an all-time great.

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Kiper has the Texans bolstering their defense in Round 2. Composite Getty, Wiki Commons image.

In Mel Kiper Jr.'s latest two-round mock, he provided insights into potential draft picks and areas of concern for the Texans as they prepare for the upcoming NFL Draft. The Texans currently have two picks in the second round.

When considering the Texans' needs, he selected Illinois defensive tackle Johnny Newton with the No. 42 overall pick and Michigan cornerback Mike Sainristil with the No. 59 pick.

Kiper praised Newton for his exceptional performance as a defensive tackle, noting his impressive 7.5 sacks last season, the most among FBS defensive tackles.

With the departure of Maliek Collins, Newton could fill a crucial void in the Texans' defensive line, providing much-needed pass-rushing ability from the interior.

Another prospect Kiper identified as a potential target for the Texans is Michigan slot cover corner Mike Sainristil.

Kiper hailed Sainristil as the best slot cover corner in the draft, citing his impressive statistics from the previous season, including 6 interceptions, 2 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. With the Texans' re-signing of veteran corner Desmond King, there is still uncertainty about King's role on the roster, according to Kiper, opening the door for Sainristil to make an impact.

Despite his relatively smaller stature at 5-foot-9, Sainristil's playmaking ability and versatility make him an attractive option for the Texans' secondary. Draft expert Lance Zierlein thinks Sainristil would be a good fit in Houston.

As the draft approaches, all eyes will be on the Texans' front office as they make critical decisions that will shape the future of the franchise.

*AI assisted.

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