Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez said he struggled with the decision on whether or not to retire, but long talks with his family — and countless messages from fans — persuaded him to come back.
ATLANTA — Free agent tight end Tony Gonzalez will take one last shot with the Atlanta Falcons.
Gonzalez told FOX Sports that he has informed the Falcons he’s returning and is close to a new contract that will put him on the field another run at a Super Bowl ring.
“After discussing it with my family and really, truly struggling with this decision, I informed the Falcons that I would like to return for one more shot,” Gonzalez told FOX Sports. “Considering how this season ended, I wanted to give it another run with (quarterback) Matt (Ryan), Smitty (head coach Mike Smith) and the guys we have in there. It was the first time I had won a playoff game and hopefully coming back once more we can take it one step further.”
The 13-time Pro Bowler is the all-time leading receiver among tight ends and second to Jerry Rice in all time receptions with 1,242. He told FOX Sports that he had decided to retire, and was content, but the lure of playing in his first Super Bowl seemed too good to pass up. Last season, he had 93 receptions and eight touchdowns, then had two more TDs in the postseason. The Falcons lost to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game.
“I was done, I thought I had my mind made up,” said Gonzalez. “This whole year I knew it would be my last, but the way our final game ended and talking to all the guys in the locker room, in the end it was too difficult of a way for me to step away from the game. It’s not often in a career you’re around a group like we have down in Atlanta.”
To keep playing, Gonzalez turned down several offers from television networks, and had made certain commitments to his son Nikko for what he thought would’ve been his first season home in California.
“I have to say also I was pretty overwhelmed by the fans and how much they reached out to me,” Gonzalez told FOX Sports. “It was really something. They sent me all these videos, posts on twitter, Facebook, things like that -- a bunch of different messages hoping I would return. Really makes you put things in perspective. I am coming back for one reason and one reason only, the chance to win a Super Bowl.”