Tony Gonzalez could walk away right now and retire — like he claimed he would at the end of this past season — and be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. But Gonzalez, 37, showed no signs of slowing down last season with 93 receptions for 930 yards and eight touchdowns as he helped lead the Atlanta Falcons to the NFC Championship game.
FLOWERY BRANCH — Veteran tight end Tony Gonzalez indicated after the season that retirement was a near certainty, but Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff isn’t writing him off just yet.
There’s still a chance the 37-year-old Gonzalez will be back next season, Dimitroff said Friday, despite Gonzalez saying he was 95 percent to 97 percent sure he would walk away from the game after the Falcons’ loss to San Francisco in the NFC Championship game in January.
“Tony has done so much for us on and off the field, and I don’t believe, not stating that he would be lying to anyone, but I don’t believe the 95 percent,” Dimitroff told the NBC Sports Network. “I want to believe it’s a lot closer to 50-50, to be honest with you, and we’ve had discussions.”
Dimitroff and coach Mike Smith are pushing Gonzales to come back for his 18th season in the NFL. A 13-time Pro Bowl selection, Gonzalez is the NFL record-holder for touchdown receptions (107) and receiving yards (14,286) by a tight end.
“Ultimately, it’s up to Tony to decide if he wants to come back and potentially catch 100 balls again,” Dimitroff said later on ProFootballTalk. “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.”
Gonzalez showed no signs of slowing down last season with 93 receptions for 930 yards and eight touchdowns.