FRISCO, Tex – Cowboys fans are used to Jason Witten being on the field for every offensive snap. But as the legendary tight end prepares for his second stint with America's Team, his role will be markedly different.
Witten was asked after Wednesday's practice if he's prepared for a reduced on-field role. The 16-year tight end said he was, although he admitted it would be an adjustment.
"It will certainly be different, not just for my case but for any competitor that wants to be out on the football field," Witten said.
During his yearlong playing hiatus while working on "Monday Night Football," Witten said he was able to gain a new perspective on the game. He's in a different position now, both physically and mentally, and serves as an excellent mentor for younger players on the Cowboys roster.
"Every day I'm coming in and wondering what can I bring as a football player?" Witten said. "We understand it's about now, which is probably a different perspective than what I would have had a year ago."
Also ready for a comeback in 2019 is offensive lineman Travis Frederick. Frederick missed all of last season while being treated for Guillain-Barré syndrome, an autoimmune disease.
Frederick admitted Wednesday that he thought his playing days might have been over following the diagnosis last fall, but said that he's now steadily recovering.
“I feel good where I am in the weight room. I’ve come a really long way,” Frederick said.
Frederick also admitted that he's recovering from two other procedures, an umbilical hernia repair and shoulder surgery, that's setting his offseason regimen back just a bit.
"I’m a little bit behind in the offseason lifting program compared to everybody else because they started a few weeks before I did, but I do feel really good in both areas of where I am at this point,” Frederick said.
His return would be big for an offensive line unit that had to rely on a mix of youth and experience in 2018. Frederick said the Cowboys' medical staff isn't rushing anything, though. He also won't participate in the team portion of organized team activities.
“Obviously, I trust in the trainers and what they’re doing and their recommendation there. I think it’s best for me, and it’s good for the team, too. It’s great I can work my way back in. I can knock that some of that rust off before I’m back in there against live bullets,” Frederick said.