Cowboys tight end Jason Witten has broken the NFL record for catches in a season by a tight end.
By JON MACHOTA FS Southwest
ARLINGTON, Texas — It's obvious that if
Jason Witten had a choice, he'd rather have the
Cowboys reach the playoffs than accomplish an individual record.
But he wasn't given that option Sunday. The Cowboys had their playoff hopes removed from their control with a 34-31 loss to the New Orleans Saints in overtime. The game proved to be a milestone one for Witten, who set the NFL's record for receptions in a single season by a tight end.
Witten's two overtime grabs gave him 103 on the season, one more than Tony Gonzalez achieved in a record-setting 2004 season with the Kansas City Chiefs.
"This is something that's special, obviously," Witten said. "There have been a lot of good tight ends play for a long time and I have so much respect for the game. To be in this position and break that it's special, probably more so this year because of the way the season started for me."
Witten, a seven-time Pro Bowler, suffered a lacerated spleen during the preseason opener in Oakland. Many thought he would miss the season opener against the New York Giants and, instead, set his sights on playing in Week 2. But Witten played through the injury and caught two passes against the Giants.
As Witten fought to get healthy, his play suffered. During the first three weeks, Witten dropped five passes. But he bounced back in Week 4 against the Chicago Bears, catching 13 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown. Over the last 12 weeks, Witten has had at least six receptions in all but two outings.
"I'm thankful I have him as my tight end," Cowboys quarterback
Tony Romo said. "Jason's had an incredible season, an incredible career and it keeps getting better and better."