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Babe Laufenberg’s son Luke dies of cancer at 21

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DALLAS — Luke Laufenberg, the son of former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Babe Laufenberg and a tight end at UTEP, has died after a nearly two-year battle with cancer. He was 21.

The elder Laufenberg posted on Twitter on Thursday, writing “we lost a son, a brother, a friend, and a warrior.”

A former walk-on at Texas A&M, Luke Laufenberg played at Mesa Community College before getting diagnosed with Burkitt lymphoma after his only season at the junior college in 2017. He was declared cancer-free in May 2018 before experiencing further complications this past spring. Luke Laufenberg never played for the Miners.

Babe Laufenberg started six games for San Diego in 1988 before going to the Cowboys. He was Troy Aikman’s backup in 1990, getting most of his playing time in the final two games when Aikman was injured. Babe Laufenberg went on to a successful TV and radio career in Dallas.

An emotional Cowboys coach Jason Garrett cut short his daily meeting with reporters not long after learning of Luke Laufenberg’s death. Fighting back tears, Garrett said, “Whatever was going on, he just had this way, this strength, unlike I’ve ever seen.”

Luke Laufenberg attended Jesuit High School in Dallas before spending his senior year at a small suburban private school.



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Cowboys’ Jason Witten wants to play in ’20, open to other teams

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FRISCO, Texas — Jason Witten wants to play another season but acknowledged it might have to be with a franchise other than the Dallas Cowboys.

“I think I have to be,” Witten said when asked if he’s open to playing elsewhere. “Obviously I’d love to finish it out here, but some of those things are not in your control.”

Witten said he met with Mike McCarthy not long after McCarthy was named head coach. He has had conversations with owner and general manager Jerry Jones and executive vice president Stephen Jones.

While Witten said the talks with McCarthy and Jones were great, he added, “We didn’t get into the weeds of my role and what that would look like.”

He said he will have more discussions after next week’s scouting combine in Indianapolis but before free agency begins on March 18.

Witten caught 63 passes for 529 yards and four touchdowns in his return from a one-year hiatus as an analyst on ESPN’s Monday Night Football. He has played 16 seasons for the Cowboys, a franchise record.

“I still feel like I have something to give,” Witten said. “I’ve obviously been on the other side of that in the decision to retire. Yeah, I think coaching is in the future, but I want to play while I can. We’ll see where that takes place. Of course I want it to be with the Dallas Cowboys and I’ll always be a Dallas Cowboy, but I also understand that with all the changes that I might have to go somewhere else.”

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Source — Ex-Panthers TE Greg Olsen joining Seahawks on 1-year deal

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Former Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen has agreed to terms on a deal with the Seattle Seahawks, the team announced Tuesday.

Terms weren’t released, but a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter the deal is for one year and worth $7 million, with $5.5 million in guaranteed money.

Olsen visited with Buffalo, Seattle and Washington, and he felt most comfortable with the Seahawks, the source said.

Tight end was an area of need for the Seahawks with Will Dissly coming off a ruptured Achilles, his second major injury in as many NFL seasons. Veteran Ed Dickson is a candidate to be released after missing most of his two seasons with Seattle due to injuries. Luke Willson, whom Seattle re-signed after trading Nick Vannett last year, is an unrestricted free agent. Jacob Hollister is a restricted free agent.

Because Olsen was released by Carolina, his addition won’t cost the Seahawks a compensatory pick.

Olsen became a free agent after he and the Panthers mutually agreed to part ways after nine seasons. A three-time Pro Bowl selection who has played 13 NFL seasons, he said he was still interested in playing in the NFL.

Olsen’s cap number for the 2020 season was to be $11,675,000 after he ruled out an extension to lower that number.

After dabbling in broadcasting during some time off, Olsen returned to the field in 2019 to prove that he could still be among the top tight ends in the league. From 2014 to 2016, he became the first tight end in NFL history to have 1,000 yards receiving in three straight seasons.

Olsen, the 31st pick by the Bears in 2007, had 52 catches for 597 yards and two touchdowns this past season. He has 718 career catches for 8,444 yards and 59 touchdowns.

Olsen, who turns 35 on March 11, holds the Panthers’ franchise record for single-season receiving yards (1,104 in 2015) and receptions (84 in 2014) by a tight end.

ESPN’s David Newton and Brady Henderson contributed to this report.

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Ex-Panthers TE Greg Olsen going to Seahawks

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Former Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen is signing a one-year, $7 million deal with the Seattle Seahawks, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter Tuesday.

The contract includes $5.5 million in guaranteed money.

Olsen visited with Buffalo, Seattle and Washington but felt most comfortable with the Seahawks, the source said.

Olsen became a free agent after he and the Panthers mutually agreed to part ways after nine seasons. A three-time Pro Bowl selection who has played 13 NFL seasons, he said he was still interested in playing in the NFL.

Olsen’s cap number for the 2020 season was to be $11,675,000 after he ruled out an extension to lower that number.

After dabbling in broadcasting during time off, Olsen returned to the field in 2019 to prove he still could be among the top tight ends in the league. From 2014-16, he became the first tight end in NFL history to have 1,000 yards receiving in three straight seasons.

Olsen, the 31st pick by the Bears in 2007, had 52 catches for 597 yards and two touchdowns this past season. He has 718 career catches for 8,444 yards and 59 touchdowns in his career.

Olsen, who turns 35 on March 11, holds the Panthers franchise record for most receiving yards (1,104 in ’15) and receptions (84 in 2014) in a season by a tight end.

ESPN’s David Newton contributed to this report.

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