Like so many players before him, Tight End Tony Gonzalez said he is entering his last season in the NFL. Unlike some other athletes and even though Gonzalez promised the same thing last August, it appears this will actually be Gonzalez’s final chance to win a Super Bowl title.
NFL Network interviewed Gonzalez on NFL AM Wednesday morning, and the anchors on the show asked whether this July would be his last training camp.
“Without a doubt, yes,” said Gonzalez according to the Atlanta Constitution. “Last year was just such a wonderful year, and I told everybody I was going to retire last year, and I really meant that when I was saying that [last year].”
The Falcons tight end went on to explain the main reason he wanted to retire was to spend more time with son, who lives in California. But after a heartbreaking loss to San Francisco in the NFC Championship game, it was hard to hang up the helmet.
“He [Nikko, his son] was the reason I was going to retire anyway,” said Gonzelez. “He lives out in Los Angeles with his mom and doesn’t live with me during the season, so I wanted to spend more time with him.”
But Gonzalez’s son told his father, ‘Dad, you guys have a great team, I think you should go out there and try it one more time.”
After hearing that from his son, it was easy for the tight end to realize he should return another season.
Gonzalez’s production was certainly not the reason he was considering retirement. He caught 93 balls for 930 yards and eight touchdowns, his best season statistics in his four years with the Atlanta Falcons.
The six-time All-Pro joined the Falcons in 2009 immediately helping young Quarterback Matt Ryan develop. Atlanta has been to the playoffs three straight seasons, a feat never previously accomplished by the franchise.
Rumors suggest that Gonzalez will not be a full participant in training camp this July, but for those questioning the tight end’s health, Gonzalez has missed two games in his 16 year career, the last coming in 2006.
Last January was the first time Gonzalez’s team won a playoff game. This will be his 17th season in the NFL, and last chance to hoist the Lombardi trophy. Gonzalez is behind only Jerry Rice all-time in receptions with 1,424 and has 14,268 receiving yards with 103 touchdowns in his career.