Witten will call his first Cowboys game on November 5 when Dallas hosts the Tennessee Titans at AT&T Stadium.
Hundreds of teammates and employees lined the entrance and halls of Cowboys headquarters at the Star as he made an entrance with family and kids in tow.
"I can only hope that the men and women in these hallways will say I was a decent man, tried to do things the right way and was dependable", Witten said. "I relied on grit", Witten said.
Witten is third on the Cowboys' list with 68 touchdown catches. Only Tony Gonzalez has more receptions and yards at the tight end position.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett also had some high praise for the veteran.
Witten probably won't be playing catch with that.
Witten is tied with Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Bill Bates and the late Mark Tuinei for most seasons by a Dallas player.
Ultimately, he opted to retire to start a new chapter in his life after one of the most successful runs in Cowboys history. His career playoff record is 2-6, and he never got to a conference championship game.More news: Nobel Prize for literature postponed in wake of sex scandal
"The hardest part of this decision was knowing that I would never be able to hand you that Lombardi Trophy", Witten said during his 15-minute speech Thursday. "He shared with me what he thought and in the only way he can do it, he told me to go be John Wayne".
In 2017, Witten had the fewest catches (63) and yards (560) since his rookie year, but he had five touchdowns and remained a valued target of Dak Prescott.
It has been a time of change in Dallas.
His departure comes a year after former teammate Tony Romo retired as the Cowboys' all-time passing leader to become an analyst for CBS.
He's an 11-time Pro-Bowler, two-time first-team All-Pro and was the 2012 recipient of the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, given to a single player each year who makes a positive impact on his community. Still on the team are Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley.
The Cowboys used a fourth-round draft pick on Stanford tight end Dalton Schultz as well, which seemingly indicated the team was preparing for a post-Witten future.
BC-FBN-Cowboys-Witten Retiring, 7th Ld-Writethru, 908Cowboys' Jason Witten retiring sans Super Bowl for TV jobAP Photo TXRR105, TXRR103, NY155, NY154Eds: Restores last time Cowboys won Super Bowl. But while Witten will be walking away from the field, he revealed that he will join ESPN's primetime Monday night broadcasts as a color analyst for the upcoming National Football League season.