Jason Witten proved Wednesday night that he’s a warrior. Despite a lacerated spleen, the Cowboys tight end suited up for the season opener against the Giants and helped Dallas come away with a win.
Witten caught two passes for 10 yards, but just taking the field was enough to inspire his teammates, including quarterback Tony Romo.
“Jason is as good a player as there is at his position and when a guy like him steps on the field, it changes the dynamic,” Romo told reporters after the victory. “It really does … I think that it just shows his commitment level this guy has to playing the game and how much he loves football, how much he loves being out here competing. I’m lucky to have a guy like him in our locker room and our team is as well. I can’t say enough about the respect that he earned from everybody with his attitude during this whole process. He’s the best teammate. He really is, for everybody.”
Witten was also lauded by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who described the veteran tight end as “inspirational.”
But as much as Witten deserves all the praise he has received for playing through his sensitive injury, it probably shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Not only has Witten played in all but one game in his professional career — he’s played every game for the past eight seasons — but he finds his own inspiration in an admirable place.
Witten hung a quote above his locker Wednesday that he said came from the Cowboys’ meeting with U.S. Navy SEALs during training camp. The message reads:
“I will never quit. I persevere and thrive on adversity. My team expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than our competition. If knocked down, I will get back up every time. I will draw on every remaining source of strength to help my team and to accomplish our goal.
“I am never out of the FIGHT.”
Check out a photo of Witten’s locker message below.
Photo via Twitter/@Rachel_Nichols