Jason Witten gets wildly blinged-out retirement gift from Cowboys owner Jerry Jones

One of the greatest tight ends in NFL history officially decided to call it quits on Thursday as Jason Witten finally announced his retirement. 

For the past week, Witten had been mulling over the possibility of returning for another season with the Cowboys or taking ESPN up on its offer to join the "Monday Night Football" booth, and in the end, the ESPN offer was too good to pass up for the the long-time tight end, who turns 36 on Sunday. 

"I never wanted this day to come. But it does come for all of us," Witten said, via USA Today. "There's an old saying in football --  the circus doesn't stay in town forever. The older you get, the more you realize there's a deeper meaning. It's better to leave 3 hours too soon than a minute too late. ... It's time to pass the torch to the next generation."

Witten said he decided to take the ESPN job because it was too good to pass up. 

"It's a unique opportunity to join a really good team -- with a group of guys who have the same passion," Witten said. "That's John Madden's chair. Jon Gruden's chair."

Since Witten took a week to mull things over, that gave Jerry Jones some extra time to come up with the perfect retirement gift, and let's just say the Cowboys owner didn't disappoint. 

At the end of Witten's press conference, Jones presented his star tight end with a diamond football. I repeat, Jones gave Witten a football made of diamonds. That is way better than a gold watch. 

Witten probably won't be playing catch with that.

The football was so blinged-out, it didn't even look real, which I'm guessing is why Jones let Witten's wife, Michele, know that the football was real and spectacular. 

"Michele," Jones said as he was lining up for a photo. "These are all real."

Here's a closer look at Witten's retirement gift. 

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Jason Witten got a nice retirement gift from Jerry Jones.  DallasCowboys.com Screengrab

You know what? 

Let's zoom in on that thing and try and count all the diamonds on it. 

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Jason Witten's retirement gift is pretty sparkly. DallasCowboys.com Screengrab

It's no surprise that Jones got Witten an expensive retirement gift, and that's because the tight end has been a star in the organization for the past 15 years. 

"You've left here with such a legacy. You came in here with that same spirit, listening to [Bill] Parcells. And you're leaving with our hearts," Jones said, via the Dallas Morning News. "But we're with you, man. We're with you as a team. We will always remember it and we're going to do more than remember it. We're going to act on it. You're an inspiration to me as well as everybody who has ever said they were a Dallas Cowboy. Thank you."

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett also had some high praise for the veteran. 

"He's simply the best example I know of, of what you want a football player and a person to be on and off the field," Garrett said.

Dozens of of Witten's former teammates took to social media to show their appreciation for the tight end. Everyone from Dak Prescott to Dez Bryant to DeMarcus Ware offered congratulatory words. 

From Dak. 

From Dez. 

From DeMarcus. 

The next stop for Witten and his diamond-encrusted football will likely be the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The 11-time Pro Bowler ranks fourth all-time in career receptions, and no one will be shocked if Witten is becomes a first-ballot Hall of Famer in five years. 

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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