Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten only needs to catch the ball four more times to pass Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin as the team’s all-time leader in receptions. However, the 10-year veteran isn’t worried about the record. He’s definitely honored to be so close to breaking Irvin’s record, but he made it clear on Wednesday the record is not his top priority.
“You’re so focused on winning and you guys know me well enough that that’s the most important thing [to me],” Witten said. “But talking about a guy like this, it’s special because he was one of the greatest. Just to be mentioned with Michael Irvin is special, and hopefully we’ll have a good discussion after a big win about it.”
Witten mentioned winning three times while referring how honored he is to be in Irvin’s company twice. As he said, winning is clearly the most important thing in Witten’s mind.
When it’s all said and done, Witten will be a Hall of Famer and will likely be called the greatest player in NFL history at his position. He’s in his 10th season and is already third among all tight ends in receptions and yards. The leader in both of those categories is Tony Gonzalez, who plays for the Atlanta Falcons, the team Dallas will face on Sunday. Even more coincidental, Witten’s first career reception came against Atlanta as a rookie in 2003.
Gonzalez has 1,195 catches and 13,797 yards through Week 8 of the 2012 NFL season. Shannon Sharpe is second on the list behind Witten, who has 747 receptions and 8,396 yards to date. At his current pace, Witten could break all of Gonzalez’s records if he plays another five seasons with the same level of production. Gonzalez says this will be his last season in the NFL, so Witten is certain to be the greatest tight end in NFL history (at least statistically) by the time he retires.