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Jason Witten wants to keep playing, knows he might have to leave Dallas

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Witten’s 17th-season could be with the Giants if the star tight end wants to reunite with Jason Garrett

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten is not done yet. The 11-time Pro Bowler has expressed interest in continuing to play, delaying what appears to be an inevitable career in coaching upon retirement.

But for the first time in his 16-year career, Witten may not wear a Cowboys uniform.

“Well, it’s taken a lot longer than I had hoped for, but I think obviously with so many changes happening inside the [Cowboys’] building, just working through that,” Witten said Tuesday night, via David Helman of the team website.

Witten already retired following the 2017 season, but he decided to return in 2019 and the Cowboys signed him to a one-year, $4.5 million contract. During the 2019 season, Witten started all 16 games, recording 63 receptions for 529 yards and four touchdowns.

With new head coach Mike McCarthy now at the helm for the Cowboys and Witten turning 38 years old in May, Witten also understands that he may have to play with another team for the first time in his career.

“I just think, yeah, coaching is in my future, but right now, I want to play while I can,” Witten said. “We’ll see where that takes place. Of course, I want that to be with the Dallas Cowboys. I’ll always be a Dallas Cowboy. But I also understand that, with all the changes, I may have to go somewhere else.”

That somewhere else could be with the New York Giants. With former Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett joining New York as an offensive coordinator, there are already-established ties to Witten in the organization.

The Giants have nothing to lose by signing Garrett as the future Hall of Famer would provide a veteran presence in the Giants locker room that has been led by Evan Engram, who suffers from his fair share of injuries. Kaden Smith, Rhett Ellison and Scott Simonson also saw some snaps for the Giants this past season, but none has proven to be a consistent weapon at the tight end position.

Witten is going to wait until the NFL Combine in March ends and before free agency to revisit his options.

“I’ve had constant communication with Stephen [Jones] and Jerry [Jones] along the way,” Witten said. “So I think it’s my hope — I think our hope — to kind of have those talks very soon after the Combine ends and before free agency. I want to play. I think I want to explore that. I think it’s the right fit in the role, and I feel like I still have something to give.”