Tony Gonzalez, tight end extraordinaire, will return for one more season with the Atlanta Falcons. There is only one reason, he wants a Super Bowl win.
“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 after meeting with doctors in order to get medical clearance. “Considering how this season ended, I wanted to give it another run with 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.
Gonzalez has 1,242 career receptions, second only to Jerry Rice. He told FOX that he thought he had made up his mind to retire, but coming so close to being in the Super Bowl forced him to re-think his decision.
“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.”
Gonzalez had at least three television offers if he retired. He said “he hopes they’re still there next year after he formerly retires”. He had also told his family he wanted to retire and spend more time with them, especially his son, Nikko, who lives in California.
“The Falcons were great about that fact and how important my commitments are as a dad,” said Gonzalez. “Smitty has always been great with working with us when it comes to family. There are things I promised Nikko that the team is going work with me on so I can keep my promise to my son. That was a huge thing for me, and they couldn’t have been more understanding. They really are a family organization. Not sure what the dates are yet, but at least I know I can be there for things I promised my son I would be there for.”
The 2012 season was one of Gonzalez most productive. The 13 time pro-bowler caught 93 passes and eight TDs, adding two more TDs in the post season. After their loss to San Francisco in the Championship game, he stood in the tunnel believing he was walking off the field for the last time, while the fans gave him a standing ovation.
“I have to say also I was pretty overwhelmed by the fans and how much they reached out to me. 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.”
He’ll now get that chance one last time.
Columnist-The Guardian Express