- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 4, 2019

Jason Witten came out of retirement in late February to re-join the Dallas Cowboys, leaving the broadcast booth behind. The 36-year-old tight end spent one season as the main analyst for ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.”

But in an interview with ESPN and The Ringer’s Ryen Russillo, Witten admitted the harsh criticism he received in the role affected him.

“Nobody’s immune to it, regardless of how much mental toughness you have,” said Witten, who appeared on the “Dual Threat” podcast. “That was one of the things I kind of prided myself on as a player 15 years. I could handle the big stage… Certainly, I took a beating. I’m aware of it. To say, ‘Hey, you didn’t pay attention to it.’ [Bullcrap.]”

Witten said his choice to return to the Cowboys, though, wasn’t based on the negative feedback. He added that he missed competing.

As an announcer, Witten did make mistakes. His most well-known gaffe was when he said Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers “pulled a rabbit out of his head.”

Witten said the toughest part of the criticism was checking his phone after games and receiving texts as if “somebody died in my family.” 

“It sucked going through it at times,” Witten said. “Once the narrative formed, I knew that it was going to be a long-game approach.”

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