This is part 3 of my series on Jason Witten. Today I am going to focus on the toughness of Jason Witten. Over the next few days I'll post new parts to this series. I am certain that he is the best tight end in the NFL right now. He may go down as the best tight end in NFL history when his career is over. Hopefully this will open the eyes of anyone who doubts how good this guy is in every way imaginable.
Anyone who watched Jason Witten battle through numerous injuries last season knows how tough he is. He played through a separated shoulder that needed surgery all year long, broken ribs, and a severely sprained ankle near the end of the season. Each one of those injuries individually would have kept 9 out of 10 players out of the lineup, but he suffered from all three injuries at the same time near the end of the season and continued to not only play but perform at a high level. I don't know if any of you have ever had a rib injury, but the pain just doing normal breathing is nearly unbearable but somehow he was on the field taking hits to his ribs while they were injured.
Long before last season's injury struggles, Jason proved how tough he was as a rookie in 2003. On October 5 during a game against Arizona, Jason took a big hit that broke his jaw. He had surgery the next day on his jaw which required three steel plates to be inserted to stabilize the jaw. He missed the game the next week against Philadelphia, but returned to action less than two weeks after surgery against Detroit on October 19. That was the only game Jason has ever missed due to injury. I was sold back then on his toughness, but ever since then he has only done more to add to his reputation as a tough guy.
While playing through injuries can be a great show of toughness, it also sometimes causes a liability on the field because there is a tendency to protect the injury during the game. Not with Jason. He plays hurt, continues to take hits, and puts himself in harms way with no regard for his injuries. He didn't short arm passes over the middle with broken ribs last season even though he was exposing his ribs to defenders ready to lay big hits directly to his midsection. His toughness is the stuff of legend and he really deserves to be mentioned along with some of the tough guy legends from the 60's and 70's.
The best part about what Jason does to battle through injuries is that is sets a tone for the rest of the team to follow. How can you take yourself off the field when you have Jason Witten out there playing with broken ribs, a separated shoulder needing surgery, and a sprained ankle? Remember last season against the 49ers on November 23 when Jason was playing with broken ribs and he took a vicious hit from Nate Clements? He was on the ground for a few minutes and had to be helped off the field. With the game in hand he had every opportunity to call it a day, but there he was playing deep into the 4th quarter. You think we need more leadership on this team? Maybe more guys need to follow Jason Witten.