Jason Witten is entering his second stint in the NFL with a certain “mamba mentality.”
The longtime Cowboys tight end shocked everyone when he stepped away from a cushy gig in the “Monday Night Football” booth to strap his helmet back on and rejoin Dallas. Now back at field level, Witten is finding new ways to motivate himself at age 37.
He said a recent trip to Duke with a few teammates included a dinner with hall of fame basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski. During the meal, Krzyzewski told a story from his USA basketball days that resonated with Witten.
“My favorite was that Kobe (Bryant) came up to him and said, ‘Whoever the best offensive player is, I want to guard him,’” Witten said (via USA Today). “He said he’s only had two people ever look at him that way: Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant. I think that says a lot. We think Olympic basketball scoring in this day and age, and he’s talking about I want to guard the best guy.
“It says a lot about what makes those guys great.”
Witten has said he’s come back “to win games,” and much like Bryant on that Olympic team, he’s willing to do the not-so-glamorous stuff necessary to accomplish that goal.
Reports from the Cowboys practice facility in Frisco, Texas, indicate Witten is making his presence felt by not only catching the football but by coaching younger players, as well. He said he’s still knocking some rust off, but he’s clearly enjoying the process with training camp set to begin in late July.
“I love all that it entails,” Witten said at the close of minicamp. “From the preparation individually, the grind of going through it, spending time with those guys, day and night — from meetings to the rookie jokes that happen. And then on the field, just seeing that product start to come together and see the team come together. There’s nothing like it, in my opinion.”