FRISCO, Texas – For the last few years, Jason Witten has been asked the question many times. And every time he fails to give an actual answer.
Because when it comes to determining how many more years the veteran tight end will play, he's never been able to give a real response.
"People always ask me how long I'm going to play," Witten said on Tuesday. "And the answer is, 'I feel good. And I know what it takes to play at a high level.'"
Apparently, the Cowboys are certainly fine with that response. The club signed him to a four-year extension that should keep him with the team through the 2021 season. If Witten indeed plays through this latest deal, it would be his 19th pro season.
For now, Witten is only focused on his 15th year, which is why he didn't sit around long after inking out the new deal on Tuesday.
"I signed it, and it was back to work," said Witten, who has been working out with his teammates doing conditioning drills here in the last couple of weeks. "It's a good, young team. There's a lot of energy on this team. I know my role within that. It certainly starts at playing at a high level and producing. Although we're in the midst of a lot of different changes, I'm confident I can still do that. I'm excited for that challenge. I really embrace that and know what it takes."
Witten, drafted by the Cowboys in 2003 as a 20-year-old from the University of Tennessee, has obviously no idea what it's like to play for another franchise. But that's the way he's always liked it. And that's the another reason why Tuesday's deal was even more special to him.
"I've always said that there's no city, organization or family that I want to play for in the National Football League than right here where I'm at," Witten said. "This agreement today showcases that. Now it's time to get back to work and continue that quest to compete for a championship."
As a 10-time Pro Bowler, Witten has won numerous awards and accolades, from the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award to multiple selections on the All-Pro teams. But winning a championship or even playing for one is something that has escaped Witten and his teammates.
Still, that makes him hungrier than ever to get to that pinnacle. But Witten makes it clear he only wants that feeling as a member of the Cowboys.
"My loyalty here and my relationship with this family and these coaches, it goes hand in hand. It never really entered my mind to leave," Witten said. "This is everything that I want. My feet are planted firmly here. I'm looking forward to what lies ahead. I'm thankful to Mr. Jones and Stephen for believing in my abilities. I wouldn't look at this any other way. It allows me to be a part of this plan. It's something I'm excited about."
Just recently, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said that he believed his 39-year-old quarterback, Tom Brady, could play another "six to seven" more seasons.
"Well, Brady will probably play until he's 50 the way he's going right now," Witten said. "But I don't put numbers on it for me. I think I know how I'm capable of playing. When that time comes, it'll come. But I don't see it now."