Witten sets NFL record for tight end catches

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.”