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July 28, 2013

Why doesn't Jason Witten get a 'veteran day off'? Garrett refers you to the 'Aggie 21' story

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett told a Jason Witten story at his press conference Sunday. It’s one of his favorite things to do – tell stories about the eight-time Pro Bowl tight end who refuses to take a day off.

He told this one in response to a question about why Witten doesn’t get a “veteran rest day” like other players.

“We were playing Tampa a few years ago in the opener. We liked this ‘wham’ play. A wham play is when you take a tight end or a fullback or somebody and you wham the nose tackle – you let the lineman go up to the next level and you try to surprise the defense by taking this other guy to block this defensive lineman.

“We thought one of our tight ends, Martellus Bennett, would be very good at this. Big, strong physical guy. He’d be a great whammer. We thought it was important to stay in regular personnel, a true fullback, a true halfback. So we put this play in. It was a one-play package: Aggie 21. We were going to call ‘32 Wham.’ So Witt was going to come off the field, and Martellus was going to come in and wham the nose.

“And I have a great relationship with Witt – have had a great one for a long time. When we put this thing in, he literally didn’t talk to me for a week.”

Garrett stuck his arms out and shrugged, conveying the idea that Witten wasn’t liking the idea. ‘I can’t wham the nose? What do you mean? I can’t wham?’

Garrett smiled.

“My image is, it’s a 300-pound nose tackle and a guy who caught 100 balls last year is going to come up and have a separated shoulder,” Garrett said. “It’s not good coaching. So we had a battle where he did not talk to me for a week about Aggie 21 whamming the nose. So getting him to take a day off of practice is a little bit like the Aggie 21 story. You start the conversation. He nods his head, he continues to nod his head, and he goes out to practice again and again and again.”

-- Carlos Mendez

Twitter @calexmendez

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