Saturday, December 21, 2013
Jason Witten ready to take Ironman lead
By Todd Archer
IRVING, Texas -- For the past seven years, every time he has played the Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten has known he would see linebacker London Fletcher.
Sunday is likely to be the last time, with Fletcher saying he is 99.9 percent sure he will retire after the season.
With Fletcher’s retirement, Witten would take over the NFL’s ironman streak of consecutive games played for position players. Fletcher will play in his 255th straight game Sunday, and make his 214th straight start.
Witten will play in his 170th straight game on Sunday. Houston punter Shane Lechler has played in 188 straight games.
“Anything like that labels you as just getting up there,” said Witten, who is 31. “It is hard to play consistently and at a high level like he has every week, week in and week out. I’ve been fortunate to be healthy, and that’s a big part of it. Obviously, London -- that’s just unbelievable at that position to do it as long as he’s done it.”
Witten missed one game as a rookie in 2003 with a broken jaw.
Over the years, Witten has developed a healthy respect for Fletcher.
“London’s a great competitor,” Witten said. “He kind of defeats all the football odds. He’s not big. He’s not overly fast. But he’s just a great football player and he’s done it for a long, long time. I heard about his starts streak. It’s hard to play that many games, and that’s all you need to know about a guy like that is every Sunday he comes and he brings it. Just a true pro. Great player, and obviously a great career. I’ve enjoyed going against him the last seven or eight years, and just a great competitor.”