IRVING, Texas – Don’t blame the uncharacteristically high number of dropped passes on the spleen he lacerated last month or his age. Cowboys tight end Jason Witten doesn’t want to hear excuses about why he dropped three passes against the Seattle Seahawks and three more on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“Ultimately, for me, I’ve been in the right spot, I’m just not making the play when I need to,” Witten said Monday. “There’s nobody more critical of their self than me. When you have that opportunity you have to make those plays, one way or another. That’s plays they expect me to make. That’s plays I expect to make. I’ve made them my whole career. I just got to find a way to get it fixed.”
Witten, who suffered the injury during the preseason opener on Aug. 13, said he is healthy and playing without any pain. The 30-year-old later added that he didn’t think he came back too soon from the injury and that he has not had another scan done on his spleen since the one that was performed in New Jersey before the season opener against the New York Giants.
“No reason for it,” Witten said. “It’s healed.”
After not speaking with reporters following Sunday’s game, the seven-time Pro Bowl tight end answered questions for nearly 13 minutes in front of his locker at the Cowboys’ Valley Ranch practice facility.
“I take full responsibility for it and rest assured that I’m going to get it fixed,” Witten said of the dropped passes. “I wish there was a way I could say I wasn’t feeling good or I’m pressing or anything like that. It’s not that. That would be the easy way to really get out of it. Bottom line is you got to get it fixed, it’s unacceptable.”
Witten added: “Every player, regardless of the sport, they go through adversity at some point and obviously this is it for me. … Trust me, I don’t want my legacy, or this time in my career to be remembered for that. And it won’t be. I’ll get it fixed.”
Through three games, Witten has been targeted 19 times. He has made eight catches for 76 yards. Against Tampa Bay, the 10-year veteran finished with two catches for eight yards, which was enough to pass Ozzie Newsome for third place on the NFL’s all-time receiving yards list for tight ends with 7,985.
“He has dropped the football the last couple of weeks in a way we have never seen him do that,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Monday. “The level of confidence I have in him, the quarterback has in him, the team has in him, has not wavered.
“We believe what we have seen over the course of his career. We have a tremendous amount of confidence in him. We believe he will be back to his form, quickly.”