Another chapter in the storied career of Jason Witten is expected to be written early in the 2017 season.
The Cowboys tight end likely will move up to fourth place on the NFL’s all-time pass receptions list. Witten currently ranks seventh with 1,089 career catches but is only 14 away from passing three Hall of Famers: Tim Brown, Chris Carter and Marvin Harrison. He could pass Harrison as early as Week 4.
Third place may be out of reach, at least this season, for the 15-year veteran. Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has the current spot at 1,125 and counting. The 35-year old Witten is probably three or four seasons away from catching Tony Gonzalez, who is No. 2 on the list and the all-time leader among tight ends. Gonzalez has 1,325 catches. Witten signed a four-year contract extension early this year that runs through the 2021 season so that could be a possibility.
Witten holds the Cowboys franchise record in consecutive games played and consecutive games with a catch, both achieved during the 2015 season. He’s already a lock to enter the Hall of Fame and receive a gold jacket himself for his work on the field. Witten is also a past recipient of the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award for his work off the field.
For the record, Jerry Rice has the all-time record of 1,549 catches. That mark won’t be eclipsed anytime soon.