Jason Witten is back on ESPN's "Monday Night Football" for the first time since he decided to un-retire and rejoin the Cowboys as a future Hall of Fame tight end. Now he's back on the field in New York as Dallas faces off with the NFC East rival Giants in Week 9.

Witten's lone season as a prime-time NFL game analyst was met with mixed reviews at best. Now he's back contributing to Dallas' repeat division-winning cause in 2019. While his former broadcast partner Joe Tessitore has moved on with former field analyst Booger McFarland as the new color commentator in the MNF booth, Witten returned to the Cowboys on a one-year, $2 million deal for his age 37 season.

How did it come about for Witten to give a TV career a try, and why didn't it work out? Here's a look back in his one and only season on "Monday Night Football."

MORE: The glory days of "Mo

nday Night Football"

Why did Jason Witten leave 'Monday Night Football'?

Witten was never comfortable in the booth and missed being in the action vs. calling it. According to multiple reports, Witten also has had designs on another post-playing football-related career: Coaching. He was even rumored to be a darkhorse head-coaching candidate for his alma mater, Tennessee, before Jeremy Pruitt took the job in 2018.

Going back to the Cowboys sets him Witten up to make a smooth transition to either their coaching staff or that of another NFL team in 2020. Ultimately, Witten also saw Dallas had great potential to remain a strong playoff team with a shot at getting him to the Super Bowl for the first time in his 16-year career.

"The fire inside of me to compete and play this game is just burning too strong," Witten said in a statement when announcing his return in May. "This team has a great group of rising young stars, and I want to help them make a run at a championship. This was completely my decision, and I am very comfortable with it. I'm looking forward to getting back in the dirt."

Why did ESPN choose Jason Witten for 'Monday Night Football'?

Witten not only is one of the most likeable players in the NFL, but also has great knowledge of the game. As a good friend and teammate of former Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo — who has already turned into a broadcast legend doing CBS' games of the week with Jim Nantz — there was a thought Witten's personality and insight would also translate well to the booth.

After a disastrous final season of Jon Gruden before he took the Raiders' head coaching job again — it was brutally obvious he and play-and-play man Sean McDonough didn't mesh — ESPN went the nice guy approach after moving pro's pro Tessitore from college football studio duties.

Before Witten called his first game of the 2018 season for ESPN, he told Sporting News this about taking the job:

"I'm so honored and humbled by this opportunity. You think about all those big names, and I think, 'My gosh.' That's a big reason while I'll be standing (in the booth)" Witten said.

"You can't fill those shoes, when you think of those guys who have been in there in huge situations as analysts. These are voices we've heard over the past three, four, five decades. It's just incredible the jobs that they did. Now I have that opportunity to carry that vision and what they've built. You can't match what they've done — you really can't. I would be foolish to try to do that. I will be trying to my damndest to make everyone proud."

Witten held his own, but was not given the opportunity to hone his craft in less-pressure environments such as college football Saturdays (which worked for former NFL player Brian Griese, who is a good bet to shine on MNF at some point in the future). Instead, Witten was thrown into a tough situation in the immediate spotlight.

There was no real genuine chemistry between Witten and Tessitore, and the presence of McFarland speaking as as third voice made things more complicated and clunky.

MORE: Booger McFarland to join Joe Tessitore in MNF booth

Why didn't it work out for Jason Witten on 'Monday Night Football'?

Witten had some trouble with basics, including properly pronouncing player names and using the telestrator. But ultimately it came down to some shoddy on-field analysis that cost him. In other words, unlike the astute Cris Collinsworth or the all-seeing Romo, it was easy to tell Witten didn't put in the same kind of relentless study of player and team tendencies.

It didn't help with that, Witten also had a misstep to get weirdly political in calling out the NFL's roughing the passer penalties as too liberal — for a network that's made it a point to distance itself from being political.

Then came the capper in the Pro Bowl, when Witten misinformed viewers that Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Colts tight end Eric Ebron were teammates all season despite playing for AFC rival teams.

You can give ESPN and Witten some credit for trying to make it work, and there was some promise when the hire was announced. But in the end, Witten with the Cowboys and MNF without Witten feels a lot more natural.