Tight end Jason Witten has been the Dallas Cowboys’ all-time receptions leader since 2012, when he topped Michael Irvin. Yesterday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he passed another former Cowboy on the league’s career list.
With 10 catches last night, Witten passed Terrell Owens for the 7th spot. As you will see from the following list, Witten may not be done working his way up the list.
- Jerry Rice – 1,549
- Tony Gonzalez – 1,325
- Larry Fitzgerald – 1,116
- Marvin Harrison – 1,102
- Cris Carter – 1,101
- Tim Brown – 1,094
- Jason Witten – 1,086
- Terrell Owens – 1,078
Witten will pass Tim Brown with just nine more catches, a very likely number with two games to go. He needs 16 to pass Cris Carter and 17 to pass Marvin Harrison. Those might be tougher to hit, but Witten has had 17 catches in his last two games.
The #4 spot may be the best Witten can hope for. Unlike these other receivers, Larry Fitzgerald is still playing and is producing big numbers. He has 98 catches in 2016, leading the league, and there is no word of retirement at this time. He has one year left on his contract with the Arizona Cardinals.
There are few active players not far off from Witten. Anquan Boldin has 1,067 catches and is still contributing for the Detroit Lions. Baltimore’s Steve Smith is at 1,021 catches and has not indicated if this is his last season.
Jason Witten’s own retirement is not out of the question. There is some speculation about his future, especially with Tony Romo’s era seemingly over in Dallas. Witten has commented about the energy and fun that comes from playing with the Cowboys’ new young stars. His desire to return could depend on what the team does in the postseason.
No matter where he finally lands on the all-time receptions list, Witten’s legacy is impossible to deny. Every receiver ahead of him on the list is in the Hall of Fame. The other tight end, Tony Gonzalez, is likely to be a first-ballot inductee.
Between his statistics and his incredible reputation as a player, the only question about Jason Witten’s Hall of Fame status should be when he gets in.