DALLAS (105.3 The Fan) -- Jason Witten will un-retire and has signed a contract to return to the Dallas Cowboys, the team announced Thursday.
"The fire inside of me to compete and play this game is just burning too strong," Witten said in a statement released by the team. "This team has a great group of rising young stars, and I want to help them make a run at a championship. This was completely my decision, and I am very comfortable with it. I'm looking forward to getting back in the dirt."
Witten will receive a one-year deal with a base salary of $3.5 million that can be worth up to $5 million, according to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport.
Witten, who turns 37 in May, retired from the NFL last spring after 15 seasons and took a job as a broadcaster of ESPN's Monday Night Football. The tight end totaled 1,152 catches for 12,448 yards and 68 touchdowns. He remains in fourth on the all-time catch list behind Jerry Rice, Tony Gonzalez, and Larry Fitzgerald.
"The time has come for me to pass the torch to the next generation of Dallas Cowboys," Witten said at the time of his retirement. "To all the Dallas Cowboys fans around the world, for 15 years I tried to represent you the right way, bring you joy and win you a championship. While I leave today falling short of that mark, I hope that along the way I made you proud to be a Dallas Cowboys fan.
"The hardest part of this decision was knowing that I would never be able to hand you that Lombardi Trophy. I told you back in 2006 that I would not let you down. I hope that in your eyes, I held up my end of the bargain."
When he returned to AT&T Stadium as a member of the broadcast team for MNF, the Cowboys honored the former tight end prior to the game against Tennessee.
"It will certainly be emotional for me," Witten said prior to the game. "Why wouldn't it be after 15 years and so many relationships inside that building with fans and teammates and management and coaches and all that stuff?"
Just two weeks ago, Witten told Ben Rogers of the "Ben and Skin Show" that he had a desire to return to the sidelines someday, not as a player but as a coach.
"I think so," Witten said when asked if it was fair to say that he'll be a football coach at some point in his career. "I coach my little kid's flag football team right now, and I hear the parents criticism ... so I think I'm getting myself ready for that."
By Josh Clark