FRISCO, Texas – Having suffered three bad losses in just 15 days, Jason Witten was probably ready to discuss just about anything when he spoke to reporters on Monday afternoon.
What he wasn't quite ready for, though, was a bevy of questions – four minutes' worth, to be exact – about his status as part of the University of Tennessee's search for a new football coach.
"I got a few texts about it when I came off the practice field, but I haven't had a lot of time to look into it," he said.
It wouldn't be unusual to ask Witten about the Volunteers' coaching search, given his standing as one of the school's all-time great players. But after a report surfaced Monday morning that said Witten was interested in the job, these questions weren't about his opinion on the situation – so much as his role in it.
"The University of Tennessee is my alma mater. It's a storied program, it's a proud program. I have so many great relationships up there over the years," Witten said. "For me, certainly coaching is something I can see myself down the road, having one of those opportunities. But right now I'm all in with this team and my feet are planted firmly here with this opportunity that I have in 2017 – getting it right this week."
It's been an up and down season for Witten, which can be said for most of the Cowboys' offense. The 10-time Pro Bowler is on pace for 70 catches and 600 yards, but he has been in and out of the box score, having finished four different games with just one catch.
Despite that, and despite Witten's own stated interest in coaching, it always seemed like a stretch to think that one of the longest-tenured and most decorated players in Cowboys history would leave the team in the middle of a season.
"People around you can say 'Oh, maybe one day he'd be a good coach,' and I could consider something like that," he said. "Certainly, I could see that happening – but no time soon. I'm enjoying and loving what I'm doing right now."
Having established that, Witten turned his attention forward to Thursday's prime time kickoff against Washington – which he assured reporters he would be at. Considering how the Cowboys have struggled to score points over the last three games, Witten said they need to find more consistency heading into this matchup.
"We've played at a high level this season at times. But we've been in a funk, we haven't been good enough," he said. "So, you have to look at our tape and be accountable to it and find ways to be better. I think that's what we've done."
Time will tell if that holds true, and Witten will be on hand to be part of it – as has been the case every, single week since 2003. But it's pretty fitting of 2017 that Jason Witten, however, briefly, turned into a coaching candidate during the middle of his work week.
"There's a lot of information going on with our program right now. It's a storied program, and the Internet these days is just – it's college football and the SEC," Witten said. "There's a lot of talk about it. But as I said. As many of you know, being around me the last 15 years, I have the best job in the world being a tight end."