FRISCO, Texas — Jason Witten is in no rush to leave the Dallas Cowboys, despite his name being connected to the head-coaching vacancy at his alma mater of Tennessee.
“Coaching is something I can see myself down the road, having one of those opportunities, but right now I’m all in with this team and my feet are planted firmly here and this opportunity that I have in 2017 and getting it right this week,” Witten said. “And not only that, but I really love this team we have and what we’re trying to build and get it right, right now and for beyond, for the future.
“So I feel too good to think that I’d consider something like that at this point.”
Tennessee backed out of an agreement with Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano as its next head coach after backlash from the fans. Witten’s name was mentioned as a possibility by outkickthecoverage.com, which said Witten would be willing to leave immediately to take over at his former school.
Witten, 35, who played for the Volunteers from 2000 to ’02, has a strong relationship with Tennessee athletic director John Currie, and he said they have spoken several times throughout the coaching search process but not recently.
“There’s a lot of smart people around him, and they’re working hard to hire and make the right hire to get our program back,” Witten said. “I’m confident that they’ll do that.”
Witten, who signed a four-year extension in the offseason, is in his 15th season with the Cowboys. He owns the franchise records for receptions, receiving yards, most games played, most games started and consecutive games played, while earning Pro Bowl honors 10 times. He is fourth all time in the NFL in receptions, second among tight ends.
Witten has 50 catches for 429 yards and three touchdowns this season.
He said his focus is on Thursday’s game against the Washington Redskins.
“I have this unbelievable opportunity and I love playing, and I think the people around you can say, ‘Oh maybe one day he’ll be a good coach and consider something like that,’” Witten said. “Certainly I can see that happening down the road, but no time soon. I’m enjoying loving what I’m doing right now.”