After flirting with retirement before and after the disappointing loss to San Francisco in the NFC Championship game, all reports indicated that Tony Gonzalez's elite career was coming to a close. But when Gonzalez came out and said that he was coming back for the 2013 season, it was all but a foregone conclusion that this year would really be Gonzalez's last hurrah. Now it has been confirmed by the man himself. Tony Gonzalez, the greatest tight end of all time, is definitely calling it quits after the 2013 season.
Without a doubt yes, without question.
Gonzalez has been one of Matt Ryan's biggest weapons since arriving in 2009, and will be sorely missed after his retirement this year. Last season he grabbed 93 receptions, for 930 yards, and 8 touchdowns while averaging 10 yards per catch. Even at age 37, Gonzalez proved that he's still one of the best tight ends in the game. Having him back this year is so key in maintaining an offense that was sixth overall in passing yards per game last season.
When asked by NFL Network as to why he came back for the 2013 season, Gonzalez cited many factors that led to his decision.
…It was a no brainer. I mean look at this football team that I get to be a part of next year. Especially playing with a guy like Matt Ryan, Roddy White, Julio Jones on the outside, we got Stephen Jackson as an offseason pickup. Osi Umenyiora on defense, (Sean) Weatherspoon- the list goes on and on with the amount of talent we have on this team.
Gonzalez also said his son, Nikko, was one of the key factors in returning to the Falcons this year. Gonzalez was going to retire mainly to spend more time with him, but once his son gave his father the ok, Gonzalez returned.
Now that it is officially confirmed that Gonzalez is retiring, it's a bittersweet feeling. Falcons fans are sure to be thrilled that Gonzalez is coming back, but are sure to be saddened by his inevitable departure after this year. With expectations already being a Super Bowl or bust season, Gonzalez's impending retirement only adds to that heightened sense of urgency for the Falcons to take home football's most coveted prize this year.
How do you feel about Gonzalez retiring? And how thankful are you that his son told him to give it one more shot?
Photo: Mark Runyon | Football Schedule
Tags: Atlanta, Atlanta Falcons, Football, Julio Jones, Matt Ryan, NFL, NFL AM, NFL Network, Osi Umenyiora, Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez