One of the greatest tight ends to ever play the game. Tony Gonzalez, the NFL’s all-time leading receiver at his respect position has been in this league 17 years. The way the Atlanta Falcons started off the season, it was looking as if that Super Bowl championship that has eluded Gonzalez over the years, was finally going to be his.
Being a 13 time pro bowler, 10 time all pro, 2 time NFL Alumni Tight End of the Year and the first tight end ever in the history of the NFL to catch over 1000 passes, it seems like the only thing Tony Gonzalez won’t be able to do, is call himself a Super Bowl champion.
With a definite hall of fame career, the 1997 1st round draft pick (Kansas City Chiefs) out of California, he has yet to announce his retirement. Even though he has said all season that there was a 95 percent chance that he is calling it quits.
Head Coach Mike Smith is one of many hopefuls wanting the great Tony Gonzalez to come back and put on a Falcons uniform, at least one more season, saying:
“I’m always holding on to that five percent. It’s something that you’ve got to hold onto. Tony has had an outstanding year. I don’t think it’s any different than his Pro Bowl years that he’s had early in his career. He has a great understand of how to play the tight end position. In my mind, he’s the best that’s ever played.” – via NFL.com
Tony himself has been asked time and time again about his decision, especially after the Atlanta Falcons fell to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game saying:
“For me, obviously this could be it. There is no tomorrow. There is no saying ‘we’ll get ‘em next year’. It’s about going out there and trying to finish on the right note. I’m not going to lie to you. I really, really, really want to win this game. Legacy is what comes in. What you do in the playoffs is what (people) remember. It’s a little bit of pressure; it’s a little bit of anxiety, but that’s good. We need that. I need that.” – via Associated Press
General Manager Thomas Dimitroff still remains hopeful that he will return to the organization. Dimitroff has been backing Gonzalez to come back for a 18th season, believes that the chances of the veteran coming back at are better than Tony has mentioned.
“Obviously Mike Smith has had discussions with him. We’re all in a good place. Ultimately it’s up to Tony to decide if he wants to come back and potentially catch 100 balls again. I think it’s one of those situations that Tony was so effective for us down the stretch, and I can’t imagine that his appetite wasn’t sort of whet from his contributions in the playoffs.” – via ESPN.com
Gonzalez turns 38 years old later in 9 days. He holds NFL records for touchdown receptions at 107, reception yards at 14,268 by a tight end, Pro Bowl All-Time leader in receptions at 48, Pro Bowl All-Time leader in Touchdowns with 6, Most Pro Bowl appearances by a Tight End and is tied 2nd most in Pro Bowl appearances by any other player in the history of the NFL.
If he indeed does walk anyway, he will go down as one of the greatest players to never win a championship. Yes I know there are a lot of good players who have never won, but to dominate your position and do something that nobody else who played under that position has done. I think that puts you above a few others.
A quick look at records:
Kansas City Chiefs –
Career Receptions (916), Career receiving yards (10,940), Career receiving touchdowns (76), Career yards from scrimmage (10,954), Consecutive games with a reception (130).
Career receiving yards for a tight end (14,268), Career receptions for a tight end (1,242), Career TD receptions for a tight end (104), Most seasons with 1,000+ yards by a tight end (4), Most consecutive seasons with 2+ touchdowns (16), Most consecutive seasons with 2+ touchdown receptions (16), Most consecutive seasons with 30+ receptions (16), Most consecutive seasons with 40+ receptions (15), Most consecutive seasons with 50+ receptions (15), Most consecutive seasons with 60+ receptions (14), Most consecutive seasons with 70+ receptions (10), Most seasons with 70+ receptions (13), Most consecutive seasons with 500+ yards receiving (15), Most consecutive seasons with 600+ yards receiving (15) and Most consecutive starts by a tight end (120).