Jason Witten to leave Monday Night Football booth, return to Cowboys

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 03: Jason Witten #82 of the Dallas Cowboys sits on the bench late in the fourth quarter as the Washington Redskins beat the Dallas Cowboys 34-23 at AT&T Stadium on January 3, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

DALLAS — Jason Witten’s retirement and NFL announcing career didn’t last long.

The Dallas Cowboys announced Thursday that Witten, their franchise leader in receptions, signed a one-year, $3.5 million deal to return to the field this season, according to ESPN.

Witten spent last season in the “Monday Night Football” announcing booth, but his retirement lasted less than a year. The Pro Bowl tight end will instead play his 16th season with Dallas, setting yet another franchise record.

He is already the Cowboys’ all-time leader in catches (1,152), games played (239), consecutive games (236), starts (229), and consecutive starts (179).

Witten’s 12,448 yards rank fourth all-time in NFL history.

“The fire inside of me to compete and play this game is just burning too strong,” Witten, who will turn 37 in May, told ESPN. “This team has a great group of rising young stars, and I want to help them make a run at a championship. This was completely my decision, and I am very comfortable with it. I’m looking forward to getting back in the dirt.”

Witten had signed a four-year deal with ESPN to serve as a color analyst on the network’s “Monday Night Football” broadcast.

“We thank Jason for his many contributions to Monday Night Football and to ESPN over the past year and wish him continued success,” ESPN said in a statement. “We have seen many former coaches and players go into broadcasting before eventually returning to the game they love, so we understand Jason’s desire to return to the Dallas Cowboys.”

In the statement, ESPN said it would determine next season’s plans for Monday Night Football in the coming weeks.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.