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Jason Witten retires from NFL to join ‘Monday Night Football’

Jason Witten

Witten played 15 seasons with the Cowboys. | Ron Jenkins/AP Photo

Longtime Cowboys tight end Jason Witten will retire from the NFL to immediately transition into the lead analyst role on ESPN’s Monday Night Football, according to the Dallas News. He will receive a multi-year deal worth over $4 million per year, which is part of what compelled him to jump into the broadcast booth.

Witten had met with the Cowboys owner Jerry Jones last week to discuss the future of his playing career. The tight end could’ve returned for another season and tried to win the Super Bowl that eluded him over the first 15 years of his career.

However, the huge salary and prominence of the job on Monday Night Football proved to be enough to lure Witten away from playing. He said in December that he was returning for a 16th season, which would’ve set a Cowboys franchise record, but that was before Jon Gruden left his post on MNF for the Raiders’ coaching job.

Joe Tessitore, who has called a variety of sports for ESPN since 2002, will reportedly join Witten in the booth as the play-by-play announcer. He’s replacing Sean McDonagh, who moves over to college football coverage after two years calling Monday night NFL games with Gruden.

Witten retires from the NFL fourth all-time in receptions (1,152) and 21st in receiving yards (12,448). He made 11 Pro Bowls.