The Dallas Cowboys will enter the 2018 offseason facing the possibility of an extensive offensive overhaul.
While the futures of play-caller Scott Linehan and nominal No. 1 receiver Dez Bryant are in question, veteran tight end Jason Witten intends to return for a franchise-record 16th season.
“Oh, I’m back,” Witten said Sunday, via The Dallas Morning News. “I’m coming back. I love playing this game too much and I know that I can play it at a high level.”
Much like Antonio Gates in Los Angeles, Witten’s role has declined as he’s lost a few steps in his mid-30s. Although no longer a perennial Pro Bowler or blue-chip roster asset, he remains Dallas’ team leader.
The franchise’s all-time record holder in games played (239), receptions (1,152) and receiving yards (12,448), Witten finished his 15th season with 560 yards and five touchdowns on 63 catches.
Already a likely Hall of Famer, Witten has his sights set on a collecting a Super Bowl ring before he retires.
“I know this — my burn is strong inside me to play at a high level,” Witten explained, “and to be a part of this group of guys and be a leader and see this thing through and go compete for a championship. When I wake up tomorrow that’s what my focus will be on.”
Witten signed a four-year contract extension last March. If the Cowboys are going to improve on their 9-7 record to make a run at the Lombardi Trophy in 2018, they will need to incorporate younger talents such as 2017 preseason sensation Rico Gathers.
To that end, Witten is determined to redefine the tight-end position and ensure its success in Dallas going forward.
“I’m as motivated now as I’ve ever been to play this position at a high level,” Witten said, “and help my team in all situations as a leader, as a veteran, but most importantly as a tight end and what that position consists of in this offense. With that, we got to get back to work, evaluate it, strip it down to the most simple form.”
The average person walks the equivalent of three times around the world during their lifetime. Banging your head against a wall burns around 150 calories an hour. (Fantasy owners who drafted Mike Evans know this well). A cockroach can live for a week or more without its head. On average, there are more cow attacks on people than there are shark attacks on people. Donald Duck comics are banned in Finland because he doesn’t wear pants. A hummingbird weighs less than a penny. During the filming of Rocky IV, Sylvester Stallone took a punch to the chest from Dolph Lundgren that left him in intensive care for eight days. You could stack four cars on the roof of a Tesla Model S and it wouldn’t cave in. Earth is the lone planet that is not named after a Roman god or goddess. The mask used by Michael Myers in the Halloween movies was just a mask of Captain Kirk (William Shatner) painted white. A woman in California once tried to sue the makers of Cap’n Crunch because the crunch berries in the cereal weren’t real berries.
Those are a few interesting facts you might not know.
Now for something even more interesting … here’s your 101 Fantasy Football Facts from the 2017 NFL season.
82. Jarvis Landry led the NFL with a career-high 112 receptions this season, and he now has 400 catches through his first four seasons. That is the most in NFL history among wide receivers.
83. Landry recorded a career-high nine touchdown catches this season while playing alongside Jay Cutler, Matt Moore or David Fales (16 games). In his previous two seasons (32 games) with Ryan Tannehill or Moore at the helm, Landry finished with eight touchdowns … combined.
84. The fantasy tight end position was brutal this season. A mere eight players at the position scored 150-plus PPR points, which is the fewest since 2008 when just six tight ends reached that mark.
85. For the second straight season, three tight ends (Travis Kelce, Rob Gronkowski, Zach Ertz) reached 200-plus PPR points. The last time there were fewer than three tight ends to hit that mark was 2010, when Jason Witten surpassed 200 points.
86. Not a single tight end reached 85 receptions this season. The last time that happened was in 2003 (14 seasons ago), when Tony Gonzalez led the position with 71 receptions.
87. A combined five tight ends had 700-plus receiving yards this season. The last time five or fewer tight ends reached 700 receiving yards was in 2003, when Gonzalez and Shannon Sharpe reached that mark.
88. Gronkowski’s 11.56 career fantasy points per game average is the most by a tight end in NFL history. Gronkowski, who finished second in PPR scoring systems at the position, has now finished in the top six in all but two of his last eight seasons.
89. Gronkowski, who finished tied for second among tight ends this season with eight, now has 76 receiving scores since his rookie campaign (2010). That’s the most of any tight end in the league during that time. What makes that stat even more incredible? It’s that he did it in just 102 of a possible 128 career NFL games (0.75 touchdowns per game).
90. Jimmy Graham has finished in the top six in PPR scoring in six of his last seven seasons. He was also the NFL leader in red-zone targets this past season, which led to his 10 touchdown catches.