Witten: Romo will return better than ever
MAR 04, 2014 2:40p ET
A veteran like Jason Witten has been around the game for over a decade, so he has a pretty good grasp on the business side of football.
The Dallas Cowboys tight end is aware that three consecutive seasons of .500 finishes is not satisfactory around Valley Ranch.
Another season of coming up short of the playoffs has forced Witten to prepare for another new offensive play-caller.
Scott Linehan was hired in January. The former Detroit Lions offensive coordinator is taking over that responsibility, one that was held by Bill Callahan last year and head coach Jason Garrett in 2012.
Witten is also getting a new position coach. Former New York Giants tight end coach Mike Pope was also hired in January, replacing Wes Phillips, who is now with the Washington Redskins.
But Witten didn't seem to mind the changes when asked about them Tuesday morning. In fact, Witten said he was excited.
"I think any time you bring new people in there's a buzz that they bring," Witten said after speaking to students at Blair Elementary in Farmers Branch. "Obviously I'm excited about Pope, a guy that's just been a tight end guru for a long time.
"Obviously Scott will have some wrinkles for our offense and it will give us a chance to be better. That's what it's all about. Jason's doing all the things he can. We got to do it on Sundays."
Other changes could include Witten losing a couple of longtime teammates. Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin is likely to be released and defensive end DeMarcus Ware could be cut if the two sides can't agree on contract adjustments.
"It's hard obviously because you know what that person's makeup is all about, what they do and just the success that they've had at a high level," Witten said. "There's a respect there as a teammate, a brotherhood, but also you understand the business side of it. That's why you want to cash in on these opportunities because that shared commitment is really what it's all about. If that opportunity passes you by, you never get another chance at it."
Witten's close friend, Tony Romo, restructured his contract on Tuesday, a move that significantly helps the Cowboys get under the $133 million salary cap this season, but also gives Romo a higher cap number in the future.
"It's all about competing for a championship," Witten said. "He's going to do everything that he can. Obviously that's part of the situation we're in with the cap, that we have to get under. Hopefully add a couple pieces to our roster that can give us a chance to make that run."
Making a run without Romo seems unlikely, so his recovery from back surgery will be critical. Romo had a procedure in December to repair a herniated disk. He is expected to be healthy for the start of organized team activities this spring.
"He's going to come back better than ever," Witten said. "He understands the urgency [to win now]. Most importantly, he's working his tail off to give us the best chance to do that. That's all we can ask at this point, get healthy and come back stronger, so we have a better football team."