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December 19, 2012

Jason Witten is on his way into the NFL record book

Tony Gonzalez has held the record for eight seasons. He had 102 catches in 2004, the most ever for a tight end in a single-season. But it is about to fall. Cowboys tight end Jason Witten has 97 receptions this season with two games left.

"Jason Witten is having a historical year for the franchise, and he's already had a great career," Saints interim coach Joe Vitt said. "He's playing the best he's ever played in my opinion."

Vitt isn't alone in his assessment.

"He [is] playing very well, the best football that he’s played in his 10-year career," Cowboys tight ends coach John  Garrett said. "He’s in the best shape of his life. He’s running faster than he ever has. He’s blocking better than he ever has. ...He's just been a great example of a guy who has just maintained excellent physical condition in his 10th year, and he really hasn’t slowed down at all, and in fact he’s speeding up. He looks like he’s 25 again, and he’s having a fantastic year, and it doesn’t surprise me one bit."

Witten's catch numbers are amazing considering where he came from. A lacerated spleen threatened to keep him out of the season opener. Though he played against the Giants, Witten had only two catches for 10 yards. In his first three games, he had eight total catches.

Witten, though, made up for it with a 13-catch day against the Ravens, and he caught 12 balls against the Browns.

"It's great," Witten said. "It's a little surreal to be in this situation. My confidence was always strong. I have played at that level for a long time. It was a tough stretch early. You just have to stay the course and be mentally tough enough to handle those situations."

Witten's previous high for catches in a season was 96 in 2007. He had 94 in 2009 and again in 2010.

-- Charean Williams




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