Come this fall, there could be yet another former Dallas Cowboys star calling football games on national television. Here at CBS, Tony Romo is our lead game analyst. At Fox, Troy Aikman fills the same role. Aikman's former teammate Darryl Johnston calls games for Fox as well. Michael Irvin and Deion Sanders are studio analysts on NFL Network.
And if Fox has its way, according to the Sporting News, current Cowboys tight end Jason Witten will be calling "Thursday Night Football" games and drawing as much praise for his performance as Romo did this past season.
Fox Sports is targeting tight end Jason Witten to become its new "Thursday Night Football" analyst, sources tell Sporting News.
Executives from Fox are intrigued by the possibility the popular, square-jawed Witten could replicate the rookie TV success of Romo, his close friend and former road roommate. He'd have the advantage, like Romo and Aikman, of broadcasting to a built-in, national fan base that loves the Cowboys.
Witten's representatives declined to comment. Fox also declined to comment.
Witten is 35 years old and surely closer to the end of his career than the beginning, but he was pretty adamant at the end of last season thatin the NFL.
Jason Witten: Oh, I’m coming back. I love playing this game too much and I know I can play at a high level.— Kate Hairopoulos (@khairopoulos) December 31, 2017
Witten has played every game for the Cowboys since October 2003 and hasn't missed a start since 2006. This past season, he posted his lowest catch (63) and yardage (560) totals since his rookie year, but he was named a Pro Bowl alternate when Zach Ertz and Jimmy Graham dropped out of the game.
Witten has recently taken on more of a media presence by appearing in national commercials, and he has long been considered a "great quote" by media members in and around Dallas. He has name recognition as a long-time member of America's most popular football team and is likely a future Hall of Famer, so it makes sense that the league's broadcast partners would be interested in his services whenever he retires. The Sporting News report also indicated that ESPN would have interest in talking to Witten were he to opt for retirement instead of another year in the league.
It remains to be seen whether Witten will be receptive to these overtures, but with the Cowboys having signed him to a four-year extension around this time last offseason, it would not at all be surprising if he turned television down for at least another year.