On Super Bowl Radio Row, Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten talks losing to the Packers in the postseason (1:17), why he's proud of Tony Romo (2:42), his first impression of Dak Prescott (4:31) and being a big brother to Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott (5:53).
Dak Prescott was 10 when Jason Witten made his NFL debut. Ezekiel Elliott was 8. Elementary school was in full swing for Dallas' dynamic rookie duo. Witten is now 34 with 10 Pro Bowls and two first-team All-Pro selection under his belt.
Tony Romo, an undrafted free agent, joined the Cowboys with Witten, a third-round pick, in 2003. They've played together for 14 seasons. This past season, Romo and Witten were supposed to be the veteran leaders for a Super Bowl contender. But it ended up being just Witten as Romo went down with a back injury just before the season opener.
"Both of them, tremendous players," Witten says. "I'm glad to play with them and I've enjoyed being the big brother to those guys in a lot of ways and their futures are bright."
Big brother ... or even older than that?
"We keep it light," he says. "I'm 34, but sometimes they make me feel like the grandpa of the group, but more than anything else, I think they enjoy being led. They love the game of football and they want to learn. From that standpoint, I appreciate them. Sometimes it's harder to follow than it is to lead and for them to come in and say I want to soak up what you're telling me and look out for my best interests, that's something I've enjoyed, growing that relationship with them."
The Cowboys finished 13-3, the best record for America's Team since 2007. Although Witten's numbers were far from his career highs, that is more indicative of his age than his chemistry with Prescott. Witten's 673 receiving yards were his lowest since his rookie season. But he had 69 receptions. In his last full season with Romo, 2014, he had 64.
On the ground, Witten blocked with an offensive line that helped Elliott win the rushing title comfortably over Jordan Howard of Chicago, 1,631 to 1,313. Prescott won the AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award with 28 of 50 first-place votes. Elliott got 21 of the other 22. As incredible as their rookies seasons were, Prescott and Elliott still have more to learn from Witten.
"It's an ongoing conversation," Witten says. "It never stops. It's not a father and a son and, 'Let me tell you what to do, son.' It's an open dialogue and a communication and during situations, seeing how it evolved, it takes time. That's not putting your hands down and saying these are the rules and this is what you have to do it. It's a relationship and I've enjoyed seeing our relationship grow and flourish over the year."
Witten and Romo have spent their entire careers together, but it looks like the quarterback could be headed elsewhere in 2017. With Prescott establishing himself as the team's starter, Romo could be traded or released in the coming months.
"There's no easy forecast for that when the injury happens like that," Witten said of Romo on ThePostGame Podcast. "It's a setback. I was really proud of him on how he handled this press conference, how authentic and real and honest he was with his words and how he chose to say them. Dak did a great job. Their communication, being on the same page, allowed all of us to shine, be able to move forward and eliminate distractions. What happens from here? I don't think any of us know. Time will tell. For that part, we'd be guessing if we tried to guess what will happen. If he has that fire and wants to play, sure, as a friend, you'd love to see him chase that. But like I said, a lot of time will tell. It'd be a little bit foolish for us to kind of guess what's going to take place."
Witten spoke to ThePostGame at Super Bowl Radio Row in Houston on behalf of Courtyard. Frankie Morales of Norwalk, Connecticut, winner of the Courtyard Super Bowl Sleepover Contest, got to spend a night in a suite designed by Courtyard at NRG Stadium before Super Bowl LI. Witten arrived on the scene for breakfast.
— Courtyard Hotels (@CourtyardHotels) February 5, 2017