Former Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten made a stop at Texoma Medical Center to visit patients and fans Monday afternoon. The visit marks the second time a professional athlete visited patients at the hospital, following a visit by Dallas linebacker Sean Lee last year.
The stop at the hospital came ahead of the All-Texomaland All Star Preps banquet at the Denison Hilton Garden Inn and Texoma Event Center, where Witten served as the night’s speaker. During the visit to the hospital, Witten took the opportunity to visit with several fans, including a 100-year-old who has been a Cowboys fan since the 1960s and a new mother.
“It is always very humbling to go to the hospital to visit the patients,” Witten said. “I go there to put a smile on their face, but I often leave with a soft spot in my heart due to their perseverance.”
Witten, who played for the Dallas Cowboys from 2003 to 2017, announced earlier this year that he would be retiring from active play to become the lead analyst for Monday Night Football this fall. Witten ended his career as an 11-time Pro Bowler, a four-time All-Pro and the all-time reception and yardage leader for the Dallas Cowboys.
Among the fans that Witten got the opportunity to meet was 100-year-old Nora Bell Ruby, who has been a fan since the team joined the NFL as an expansion team. Ruby, who was wearing a hat signed by linebacker Sean Lee, said she had jerseys from both Witten and former Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.
Ruby attributed her long life and health to picking cotton and working hard when she was younger.
“I wish I looked as good as you do now,” Witten said.
For Kenneth Riffe, the visit to the hospital gave him an opportunity to pick the brain of one of a professional football player. Riffe asked Witten who was the hardest hitter he ever had to go against on the football field. While Witten said many would give that honor to Ray Lewis, he instead said the hardest hitter was Ray Thompson who injured Witten early in his career.
“I got hit so hard on this side that it fractured the other side of my jaw,” Witten said. “My quarterback must have not seen him standing there in the middle of the field.”
For Matt and Katie Glenn, Monday was special in three ways. Not only did the young couple get to meet Witten, but they also welcomed their first child, Gabe Russell Glenn, into the world on what was their second anniversary. Little did the couple know that a former Dallas Cowboy would be one of the first people to congratulate them on the birth.
“It was definitely a special moment you will never forget,” Matt Glenn said. “I will definitely introduce him (my son) to it when he gets a little bit older.”