Many Cowboys fans know that Tony Romo & Jason Witten joined the Cowboys not only the same year – 2003 – but met on the bus from the airport en route to the first team meeting! Witten, a third round draft pick; Romo, the undrafted free agent.
By the time Romo became the starting QB nearly three seasons later, Witten was already a two-time Pro Bowler. #82 became a target of hundreds of passes. They bonded off-field, too, and Jason had this to say about #9’s retirement.
Nearly 14 years ago to the day, I arrived in Dallas. I was a new member of the Dallas Football Cowboys via the 69th pick in the 2003 NFL Draft. I was as green as any 20-year-old Tennessee boy could be, carrying the excitement of a little kid on Christmas Day. I anxiously awaited the unique privilege given to me by Mr. Jerry Jones to participate in my first NFL mini-camp. This was an exciting time—for I had dreamed about it my entire life.
As my heart pounded, I got off the plane, grabbed my luggage and headed for the shuttle, eagerly waiting for the next morning to arrive and my journey as a Dallas Cowboy to begin! Little did I know that in this short 5-mile ride, the most special relationship in my professional career was sitting next to me and about to begin. On the shuttle that day was a young bright-eyed QB from a small D1-AA school, undrafted, and this sort of Huck Finn way about him. There we were — just two kids ont he bus, setting out to chase our dream.
After taking a few days to reflect and collect my thoughts, I thought it was fitting and felt a desire to share some thoughts about Tony and why I will forever be grateful to #9 and his entire family.
While history might remember 9 for the wins and losses, as a Houdini-like playmaker, the epic 4th quarter comebacks, the lack of playoff wins, or the Brett Favre-esque no-look passes. I will always remember much more. No man can write his own history, and I tend to believe that over time the historians will remember Tony as one of the great signal-callers of his era.
For me, I will remember that ultra-driven athlete who worked his tail off to learn how to perfect the proper throwing motion. The player who would stand at the chalk board tirelessly thinking through and dissecting how to block-up a brutal Jim Johnson blitz. A guy who would take command at the line of scrimmage with the authority of a 5-star general all while having the charisma of Joe Namath and the competitive fire of Michael Jordan. Ultimately, he became a player that would set the highest standard for himself, because he knew it would create higher expectations for all of those around him. Players had to play better and coaches had to coach better.
Most fondly. I will remember a man with a big heart, who loved to include others and took a great sense of pride in watching them enjoy the fruits of his labor. A man with an infectious personality and a contagious smile.
Lastly, in more recent years, I will remember a man with a big heart, who loved to include others and took a great sense of pride in watching them enjoy the fruits of his labor. A man with an infectious personality and a contagious smile.
It brings a smile to my face knowing that Tony will have more time with his boys as they come of age. I am certain their lives will be better for it, because, with 9 as your pilot you feel as if you can conquer the world. I know I sure felt that way.
9, I am forever grateful to have had you as my QB. Your God-given talent and ability has positively impacted not only my life, but my entire family. I am proud to call you my dear friend and brother for life.
Jason Witten 82
Is someone in here chopping onions?