FRISCO - Cowboys tight end Rico Gathers has always looked up to Jason Witten.
Gathers watched the future Hall of Famer on the field as a rookie, trying to understand how a Pro Bowl tight end operated in the pass and run game.
The two talked football sparingly but family more, Gathers said from minicamp Tuesday, as the two tight ends also raising children.
And then Witten wrote Gathers a letter.
"Rico," it began on Witten's personalized stationary.
LOVE HAVING YOU AS A TEAMMATE. YOUR FUTURE IS BRIGHT! KEEP YOUR HEAD DOWN & KEEP GRINDING. LET's GO DO SOMETHING SPECIAL
The letter was short but positive, like Witten's guidance generally, Gathers said. Witten delivered it around Christmas in 2016, when Gathers was an untested rookie and Witten was eager to see if his 12-2 Cowboys could finally snag the Lombardi Trophy that so long eluded him.
Gathers wonders if Witten even remembers it now.
But to Gathers, it made an impression.