Following the loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game a few weeks ago, perennial Pro Bowler Tony Gonzalez let it be known that he’s leaning towards retirement rather than returning for another season with the Atlanta Falcons. Gonzalez appears to be content with walking away from the NFL while still playing at a high level and without winning a Super Bowl ring.
Although Gonzalez may be content with potentially retiring, the Falcons’ front office is hoping to persuade arguably the greatest tight end ever to play the game to come back for at least one more season in Atlanta with general manager Thomas Dimitroff already expressing interest in having Gonzalez return next season according to Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com:
“A guy who is 36 catching 100-plus balls (including the postseason), it just doesn’t seem like it’s time for him to move on,” Dimitroff said while visiting the Super Bowl media center.
When Dimitroff offered that up without much prompting, I immediately asked if he had delivered that message to Gonzalez.
“I definitely already have,” Dimitroff said.
At 36-years old, Gonzalez is still one of the best tight ends in the NFL and one of Matt Ryan’s favorite targets in the Falcons’ offense.
The Falcons have one of the most dynamic offenses in the league with two of the best wide receivers at Ryan’s disposal in Roddy White and Julio Jones. Despite having arguably two of the league’s best downfield, Gonzalez led the team in receptions this season with 93 and continues to produce at an extremely high level.
Dimitroff’s reluctance to let Gonzalez walk off into the sunset while waiting for his induction to the NFL’s Hall of Fame comes as no surprise. The veteran tight end has been a vital piece to the puzzle in the Falcons’ success over the past few years and will help the team’s attempt to reach the Super Bowl next season.