FRISCO, Texas – A year ago today, Jason Witten turned 36 just after announcing his (temporary) retirement from the Dallas Cowboys.
Here on birthday No. 37, the veteran tight end is back and "completely involved" in the Cowboys' voluntary offseason program, head coach Jason Garrett says.
Last week, the Cowboys began Phase Two of the program which permits on-field individual player instruction and drills as well as team practice conducted on a "separates" basis.
"You can tell he kept himself in shape," Garrett told reporters at the annual "Taste of the Cowboys" benefiting North Texas Food Bank's Child Programs. "You can tell this has been on his mind. Really hasn't skipped a beat, completely involved in our offseason program, on the field with us last week. He looks really good. He's moving well.
"He looks the same. Probably weighs 250s, low 260s. He looks fast, he looks quick, he looks flexible and moving around really well."
Travis Frederick's Progress
Another welcome sight at offseason workouts: veteran center Travis Frederick, who's returning to on-field work after spending the entire 2018 season recovering from Guillain-Barre syndrome.
"It's been great. He's done so well," Garrett said. "We talked about this a lot last year when he was out last year and not able to play, just the impact that he had, the leadership that he demonstrated, not only with the offensive line but with the offense and with our whole team. He just did a fantastic job. And towards the end of the year he started feeling better and better.
"He's been able to go through our entire offseason program up to this point. He was on the field with the guys last week. It was good to see him out there in a stance, running football plays. He looks really good. He's an outstanding player and an outstanding person for us. He's been a great leader for us. Excited to get him back."
The Cowboys will welcome their rookie class to The Star later this week for annual rookie minicamp. Garrett said the structure will resemble more of an orientation than a practice schedule.
"More classroom work, more team-on-the-grass tempo from training camp where it's more jog-through than going fast with them," Garrett said. "Give them a couple days to get the strength and conditioning program, get that foundation laid for what's going to come the following week. That'll be the schedule and the tempo that we'll go with. It's what we did last year. I thought it was good for us."