IRVING, Texas – Tony Romo's season isn't even officially over, but the talk has already begun in earnest.
It started with the questions about whether the Cowboys need to draft a new quarterback, and the conversation was only fueled when team owner/general manager Jerry Jones said he thought Romo had another four to five years of football left in him.
The very fact that these conversations are happening is a testament to the reality that Romo is rehabbing a broken collarbone, rather than preparing for Monday's game in Washington. That's a frustrating thought for those that are watching Romo recover from his second major injury this season.
"Personally, that's somebody you're pulling for. You know how much he puts into it," Witten said. "And now, this begins – all the things that are talked about for the next six months."
Witten makes a good point, but there's still technically the outside possibility that Romo's return is in six weeks, rather than six months. The Cowboys have yet to send their starting quarterback to injured reserve. As long as he remains on the active roster, it's theoretically possible he could make another return – on the off chance Dallas makes a miraculous playoff run.
Regardless of whether Romo returns sooner or later, Witten offered him an unwavering vote of confidence for what's to come.
"If I had to bet on anybody in this world, it'd be him. He's going to come back better and stronger, and just the best player," he said. "He's played at an elite level for a long time, and I think he'll be more motivated now than ever to come back. That's what he's all about – both physically and mentally."
Meanwhile, Witten remains as one of the 52 healthy players on the active roster tasked with trying to dig the Cowboys out of their 3-8 hole. Thanks to the futility of the NFC East, Dallas remains just two games out of first place with five games to play.
That doesn't necessarily mean the Cowboys have a good chance of making the playoffs, but Witten said they were fortunate to have that much to play for.
"I think it's motivating. I've never played in a season, I don't feel like, where the season was over," he said. "A lot of times when you are 3-8 that's the case, and this year we're fortunate that it's not. It provides hope to be able to understand that you're in it."
A win in Washington on Monday would certainly keep the Cowboys in it, despite plenty of conversation to the contrary in the past week. That fact wasn't lost on Witten when he was asked for a response to those advocating that the Cowboys call it a wrap.
"There's too much fight, too much character on this team to be able to approach it that way," he said. "Every opportunity to go out there on Sunday or Monday afternoon, evening – it's an opportunity to play and show what you're about. You would never do that."