The last we heard, Tony Gonzalez had played his last game in the NFL and surely his last in an Atlanta Falcons uniform. Well if Thomas Dimitroff, the Falcons GM has anything to say about it, Tony might just be back for another season. Thomas admitted that he is lobbying hard to get the future Hall of Fame tight end to return for another season.
“A guy who is 36 (years old) catching 100-plus balls (including the postseason), it just doesn’t seem like it’s time for him to move on,” Dimitroff told ESPN.com while visiting the Super Bowl media center.
Late in the season, Gonzalez stated that he was 95% sure he would retire at the end of the year. That number increased to 97% during Atlanta’s playoff run. According to Dimitroff, the Falcons have stated their case and now the decision is entirely up to Gonzalez. ”Tony’s a man and he’s got to make his own decision,” Dimitroff said. “Suffice it to say that it’s not going to be an easy decision for him one way or another because he knows that he still has fuel in the tank and it’s very legitimate fuel in the tank.”
If Gonzalez commands as much respect from the Falcons as Dimitroff suggests, it seems a little desperate and gimmicky to make a public statement like this about a player’s retirement. Gonzalez is a shoo in for the hall of fame, and has had a long, illustrious career. He deserves the right to retire on his own terms and the way the NFL is heading, Tony should get out while he still has his health. The Falcons seem desperate to get Gonzalez back, likely because they don’t have a viable replacement for him. Sure Gonzalez probably wants to go out as a champion, but at what cost?