Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten caught for the 10,000th yard of his NFL career in a 20-17 victory over the Houston Texans on Oct. 5. Witten, Tony Gonzalez and Shannon Sharpe are the only tight ends in league history to do so.
Jason Witten is now officially a member of the 10,000-receiving yard club.
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Witten becomes just the third tight end in NFL history to accomplish the feat, doing so when he caught a 34-yard pass from quarterback Tony Romo in the third quarter of the Cowboys' 20-17 win over the Houston Texans on Sunday, per David Helman of the Cowboys' official website:
"His stat line isn't going to jump off the the page at anyone, but Jason Witten finished Sunday's win in rare air -- for any receiver, let alone a tight end.
"In hauling in a 34-yard seam route from Tony Romo in the third quarter, Witten surpassed 10,000 receiving yards for his career, making himi the third tight end in league history to do so.
"'It was special. I have so much respect for this position and all the receivers who have played in this organization. But to join Tony Gonzalez, he's the best player to ever do it, and to get over 10,000 yards is a huge honor,' Witten said. 'I'm thankful for a lot of good players along the way to make that happen for me. Hopefully there's a lot more. More than anything else, I'm excited about the win.'
"Witten joined the aforementioned Gonzalez, whose 15,127 career receiving yards is the most-ever by a tight end, and Shannon Sharpe as the only tight ends to hit five-figure receiving yards. In fact, Witten's 59-yard day against the Texans puts him just 46 yards shy of Sharpe for the No. 2 spot.
"'You're heard me say this a lot, but he's a complete tight end. We ask him to do a lot of things. Put that tape on him and see what he was asked to do in the game,' said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett. 'It's a lot more than just catching passes and that's what he's done throughout his career and he's embraced every part of it.'
"Emphasizing the accomplishment is Witten's franchise company on the list of 10,000-yard receivers. With 11,094 career receiving yards, Michael Irvin is the only other Cowboy to pass that yardage mark.
"'One of the best players I've ever been around,' Garrett said of Witten. 'A great example to how to conduct yourself on a team, in a community, or just doing things the right way. One of the people I most admire in my life.'"
In his Sept. 25 blog, Helman praised Witten not just for his receiving skills, but also for his blocking skills which have been invaluable to the Cowboys' running game:
"It's easy to look at a box score and write off Jason Witten's contributions to the offense this year.
"Witten has 10 catches for 95 yards through the first three weeks of the season, which is the third-lowest output of his career heading into Week 4. The two years below this one are his rookie season in 2003 and and his 2012 campaign, when he was battling back from a lacerated spleen.
"To hear it from Bill Callahan, the Cowboys -- currently third in the league in rushing offense -- have plenty to thank Witten for in the ground game. It just so happens to be a kudos that doesn't show up on the stat sheet.
"'I think it's an aspect we don't talk enough about, because in the zone run you've got to be able to get to the edge,' Callahan said. 'You've got to be able to capture those players that are trying to set the edge, and he's such an important aspect -- to get outside.'
"The Cowboys don't run around the edge often, but they've been quite successful when they do. On attempts to left and right end, the offense is averaging 6.2 and 4.9 yards per carry, respectively. Callahan said Witten's ability to set the perimeter has been invaluable.
"'If you don't have that type of blocking tight end, you're whistling in the wind,' he said. 'It's awfully hard to capture the outside perimeter unless you have a tight end that has his reachability.'
"Asked about his role in the running game, Witten said he's always taken pride in being a complete tight end. It's a bit ironic that, as the Cowboys prepare to play arguably the best receiving tight end in football in Jimmy Graham, Witten as talking about his contributions to the ground game.
"To be able to have a good running game, especially when you run the wide-zone scheme like we do, you have to be able to set the edges, because those are where the one-on-one matchups are,' Witten said. 'If that never gets secure, then the run game never gets off the ground.'"
Witten has now caught for 10,104 yards and 52 touchdowns on 898 receptions in 180 career regular-season games with the Cowboys through Oct. 6, per ESPN stats.
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