Go to the Live In-Game Chat; Gonzalez close to 1,000-catch mark

090424 Atlanta - Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez and his wife October Gonzalez as he is introduced at the Arthur M. Blank Office in Atlanta, Friday, April 24, 2009. October will have her say on when Gonzalez decides to retire. CURTIS COMPTON / ccompton@ajc.com

090424 Atlanta - Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez and his wife October Gonzalez as he is introduced at the Arthur M. Blank Office in Atlanta, Friday, April 24, 2009. October will have her say on when Gonzalez decides to retire. CURTIS COMPTON / ccompton@ajc.com

Friday’s injury report

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, who has a turf toe injury, was limited in practice on Friday and was listed as questionable on the injury report for Sunday’s 1 p.m. game against Buffalo at the Georgia Dome.

Running Michael Turner did not practice all week, but is listed as questionable. Cornerback Chris Houston did not  practice all week and is listed as doubtful.

Defensive end Jamaal Anderson (chest), defensive tackle Jonthan Babineaux (shoulder), left tackle Sam Baker (elbow, hamstring), guard Harvey Dahl (ankle), linebacker Curtis Lofton (shoulder, hamstring) and safety Charlie Peprah (hamstring) were all listed as questionable.

Also, Anderson and Peprah did not practice on Friday.

THURS. UPDATE

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan took part in practice on Thursday in a limited capacity.

“He took some snaps which is right on schedule with what we wanted to do since we gave him the day off yesterday to let that toe settle down,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said.

Running back Michael Turner (ankle) and cornerback Chris Houston (hamstring) did not practice.

THE BRANCH –  Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez is closing in on 1,000 catches for his career.

He needs six catches to join five other players over the mark. Ironically, Buffalo’s Terrell Owens needs just two catches. They both could get there on Sunday.

NFL TRIVA: Name the other five players who have more than 1,000 career catches?

Gonzalez said he’ll be back to play next season, but it is clear that he could keep playing. He said there’s no doubt he could play three more years, but is not sure if he wants to.

“It’s depends on what day of the week you ask me,” Gonzalez said. “I think that’s true of all old guys in the league. Next year, I’m coming back for sure. I’m never going to say I’m 100 percent done after next year. Obviously I would be leaning towards that direction unless something changes. I feel good mentally and physically. I love playing this game. I still think I can do it a high, high level.”

He’s clearly thought this process out.

“It’s one of those things that can’t just be my decision,” Gonzalez said. “I can’t be that selfish about it. It’s something I’d have to talk to my wife and my family about. Right now, I’m enjoying it.”

It was pointed out that few of the great tight ends have played past 33. Gonzalez will turn 34 in February. Shannon Sharpe played until he was 35. Jackie Smith, a hall of famer, played until he was 38.

“Those are the things you have to take into consideration,” Gonzalez said. “Fortunately, I have not had anything major, knock on wood. I have had some key stuff. MCL damage four times. A shoulder, I guess just normal stuff after this long of a career, but nothing too bad.”

Gonzalez has never won a playoff game in his career wants to reach the super Bowl.

“I enjoy game,” Gonzalez said. “Who knows, maybe I will go out there and play another three years. I don’t know. I’m not throwing that out the window.

“I agree with what Coach (John) Madden says. He says once you say you’re retiring, when guys come out and say they are retiring, it’s over. Mentally, you’ll shut it down. You should not say that. You should just wait until the end of the season and re-evaluate. That’s the way I’m going to take it. I’ve always told myself going into the next season that this is probably going to be my last year after 14 years in the NFL, but at the end of that year, who knows. I feel great.”

For Gonzalez to keep playing, he’d have to sign another contract. The Falcons can try to extend him next season or when he’s clear about whether he wants to continue playing.

“I know I could play,” Gonzalez said. “I know I could play another three or four years and play well, too. So I’m not

 October Gonzalez.  CURTIS COMPTON / ccompton@ajc.com

October Gonzalez. CURTIS COMPTON / ccompton@ajc.com

going to completely put it out of my mind, but then I would need a deal, too. I don’t have a deal to go that long.”

FALCON COACH MIKE SMITH ON THE BILLS: The Bills are a little tougher than most 5-9 teams.

“Five of their losses have been by seven points are less,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said.  ”Three have been by three points or less. They play a very physical style of football both offensively and defensively. They run the ball very well. They’ve got two physical running backs. Defensively, I like the way that they play. They play with a lot of energy.”

The Bills have the 32nd ranked rushing defense in the league.

“They’ve had a couple of plays where they’ve given up some explosive runs,” Smith said. “But I feel what they are doing schematically and scheme-wise is very, very sound. They just had a couple of breakdowns in a couple of games. I think they are a very good defense.”

(My Buffalo folks tell me that the running lanes will be wide open if the Falcons account for linebacker Paul Poluszny. So it should be pretty simple: Block Poluszny in the run game and account for Aaron Schobel when passing and the offense should roll. Nine players have rushed for more than 100 yards against the Bills and three other have rushed for 80).

SCOUTING REPORT ON BRIAN BROHM IN GREEN BAY?: My mentor and buddy  Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel sent along some intel on Brohm, who’s the likely starter on Sunday for Buffalo.

Seems he had trouble reading defenses, held onto the ball too long and just generally had trouble adjusting to the speed of the Pro game.

McGINN wrote in an Aug. 26 story, “The performance of quarterback Brian Brohm has been so uninspiring this month that he has been the subject of pointed commentary by the color analyst on the Green Bay Packers’ own pre-season television network.

“Rich Gannon, a quarterback in the National Football League during a 17-year career lasting from 1987-’04, made remarks about Brohm on Saturday night that might be considered tame by some standards but stood in dramatic contrast to the benevolent work of others who previously held the job.

“He looks a step slow,” Gannon told viewers late in the first half of the Buffalo game. “He’s late with his reads. You see the footwork is not sound. He’s not clear and it’s really affecting his accuracy.”

In the second half, Gannon said Brohm didn’t “look comfortable under center” based on “the batted balls, the interceptions, the decisions.”

He continued: “It looks to me like there’s some confusion. He’s not reading things properly. The footwork has to be cleaned up. You can see he’s moving all around the pocket. He’s just not sure of himself right now.”

Triva Answer: Marvin Harrison, Jerry Rice, Cris Carter, Isaac Bruce and Tim Brown.

26 comments Add your comment

planb

December 24th, 2009
9:34 am

First!!!
Wouldn’t it be great to have a TE as good as TG for another 4 or 5 years!!!

A.Dylan Thomas

December 24th, 2009
10:43 am

I dont think TG will be this good for another 4-5 years. It isnt often a player over 35 keeps playing at that high a level (see end of career jerry rice,marvin harrison, isaac bruce,etc.)something not many people have talked about is we should be looking for the heir apparent to TG in the upcoming draft.Sadly I dont think there will ever be another tight end as good as TG.

Rod

December 24th, 2009
10:44 am

Third!!!

(big freaking deal)

Goldenglove002

December 24th, 2009
11:09 am

Watching Tony play out there this season makes me think he could still play at a high level for another couple of years. And even if he does decline a little bit, he’d still be a great player. I’d live to see the Falcons keep him around and get that superbowl ring

LongSufferingFalconsFan

December 24th, 2009
11:28 am

I really hope TD can find a rookie for TG to mentor for his last few years. I would guess he’ll play 2-3 more. If we grab a raw TE with a lot of upside for TG to mentor, that would be amazing. It would be a shame for us to let that opportunity fall to side.

I hope next year the team can give Tony the year he deserves. With another solid draft, some key FA signings, and better luck with injuries, I think he’ll almost certainlly win his first playoff game next year.

BlackTalon

December 24th, 2009
12:46 pm

Tony G. is a real class act, October is real fine too.
It would be great to see him retire as a Falcon (if, it be in one year or three) with a big fat SB ring on his finger.

BT

December 24th, 2009
12:52 pm

”The Bills have the 32nd ranked rushing defense in the league.”

There appears to be no need to change the basic game plan from the one used on the Jets?

Great Falconi

December 24th, 2009
1:16 pm

I know some folks wanted Brian Brohm over Matt Ryan in the draft a couple of years ago. Here’s hoping we beat Brian Brohm’s candyass into the turf on Sunday.

Falcon 8211

December 24th, 2009
1:55 pm

i’m glad tg is here. i hope he will sign a 1 year extension so we will have him 2 more years. tg will get a ring here in the atl within 2 yrs. td and coach smith need a few more pieces to make it work. please tg sign a extension with us

BIG DAWG

December 24th, 2009
3:54 pm

LEDBETTER way to bring it! If the Falcons didn’t have Tony G this year, they would be 4-8 right now. Let’s get these two Ws and get rid of the curse!!

GO FALCONS GO!

FoxNoise.net

December 24th, 2009
8:56 pm

If Gonzalez is only looking to play another year the Falcons should look at drafting a tight end by the 4th round.

Singletary

December 24th, 2009
10:35 pm

I’m cheering for Gonzo. TO is the only major decision of the Ralph Wilson Bills (in Buffalo where I’ve attended a few games) I’ve ever questioned.

In the words of my spouse, I’d be shabby if I didn’t wish everyone “a happy and a merry.” May we all find peace in the New Year.

Sage of Blueland

December 25th, 2009
12:14 pm

Wow, his wife is a real stunner. She’s giving me an “extension” right now.

Merry Christmas

December 25th, 2009
2:59 pm

Did sommebody on his blog say Superbowl LOL what a bunch of dilusinal losers. You have to be in the playoffs to even think you can play for superbowl. PETA can’t buy you that no matter how many of their trolls Blank puts on the team. Making a deal with the devil does not work. How’s this season working for you?

Sick & Tired Of Being Sick & Tired

December 25th, 2009
6:57 pm

Tony G has been one of the few consistent positives on the team this year. What a class act!! I certainly hope he can reach the 1,000 catch mark this year. It will be great if he can do it on Sunday in the dome during a home game.

Maxx

December 25th, 2009
11:23 pm

16th!!! Yea Tony G is one of the best athletes in the history of the game, he caught 96 balls for over 1000 yds last yr and will go for around 1000 this year. He is still one of the best TE in the game right now, has the best hands of any TE in football, and there’s no doubt in my mind that he can play for another 3 years, it’s just a matter of if he wants to or not, like he said. I really hope we can get him at least a playoff victory for his career, if not I really wouldn’t blame him for going somewhere else after his contract is up with us.

Maxx

December 25th, 2009
11:28 pm

Sage of Blueland- Zing!

I'm just sayin

December 25th, 2009
11:56 pm

As October turns to November, Tony will throw her off for someone that has seen an orthodondist.

[...] ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTIONAL Analysis: Jason Snelling has a great shot to touch the ball 20+ times against a terrible [...]

hiramsaint

December 27th, 2009
8:44 am

wow…and this means?????????????????????????

Falcons 4 Real

December 27th, 2009
9:00 pm

Lawrence Sidbury gave us a glimpse of things to come today. Let me be the one to give him the nickname “L Sid.”

Brendan

December 27th, 2009
9:35 pm

NFL.com is reporting that Rich McKay just got a 5-year contract extension.

Bryan

December 27th, 2009
9:36 pm

RUDEDOG

December 27th, 2009
11:19 pm

Enter your comments here

MV#777

December 29th, 2009
7:11 pm

IT FIRST BECAME obvious, this feeling between Michael Vick and his new teammates, a couple of weeks ago in Atlanta. It was his homecoming game, as it were. It was where he scored his first touchdown for the Eagles and his teammates bounded off of the bench in celebration, where cornerback Sheldon Brown said that he and some of the players were telling each other before the game that they wanted to win it for Vick.

I mean, win one for Mike? Really? We all observe from a distance, and it was so hard to see or to understand. But it was real. There is no doubt that it was real, this bond between Vick and his new teammates.

And, now, this:

The Eagles’ players have unanimously voted Vick as the team’s recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award, given annually to the player on each NFL team who exemplifies “commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courage.”

Guilty of horrific crimes. Sentenced to a federal prison term. Forfeited millions and millions of dollars. Back in the league for only a few months, only through the good graces of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Eagles coach Andy Reid. Now, a convicted felon honored by his teammates for overcoming a terrible situation into which he had put himself.

“I’m not sure you can explain it unless you’ve gone through it here with him,” Reid said yesterday. “Everybody is going to have their opinion on it, I’m sure. Until you’ve been with him for the hours that his teammates have been with him and seen him through all these different things that he’s had to go through, that time-tested part of it, you can’t appreciate it quite as much.

“I don’t expect everybody to understand it, no, but I think it’s a tribute when it’s a slam dunk by his teammates voting him that. It was just a unanimous vote there.”

That this is just a gut punch to the people who have opposed Vick’s reinstatement goes without saying. For them, a PETA spokesman said:

“The Philadelphia Eagles fumbled when they gave Michael Vick the Ed Block Courage Award, which was named after a man who advocated in behalf of abused children. Michael Vick should not be the person anyone points to as a model of sportsmanship, even though he has now exchanged dogs for touchdowns after serving time for extreme cruelty to animals. We wish him well in educating others, but this is not appropriate and does not mark a joyous moment in NFL history.”

It is hard to disagree with any of that. It does seem too soon to be celebrating Vick. It does not feel right – and this comes from somebody who thought Vick deserved a chance to play this year, somebody who was looking forward to seeing what he could do on the field.

But here is the thing: I did not get a vote and you did not get a vote. This is a players’ award, voted upon by players. And whatever your personal feelings, it is impossible not to be fascinated by this team’s embrace of Vick, right from the start.

“I never worried that guys wouldn’t accept me,” Vick said. “That probably was one of the last things on my mind. The most important thing was to get in here and get to know the guys and get acclimated in the city and playing football again. You just let things happen naturally. You just be yourself.”

This is more than just teammates supporting a teammate. It is clear that they like the guy. Talking to them through the season, it is clear that they thought the punishment for the crime was so severe, prison-wise and especially financially, only because Vick was a celebrity. Their inclination as fellow celebrities was to root for him, and as fellow teammates to root for his ability to help them on the field. But the feelings still ended up going deeper, and this award demonstrates it.

“It means a great deal,” Vick said. “I’ve only been in this locker room for 3 1/2 months. For those guys to feel that way about me, it means a lot to me. The bond that I have with the players on this team and the way we’ve jelled has been outstanding.”

Someone asked Vick what kind of courage he demonstrated, per the award.

“I’ve had to overcome a lot, more than probably one single individual can bear,” he said. “Take a look at what I’ve been through. You ask certain people to walk in my shoes, they probably couldn’t do it – probably 95 percent of the people in this world. Because nobody had to endure what I’ve been through, situations I’ve been put in, situations I’ve placed myself in, decisions that I’ve made, whether they were good or bad. There are always consequences behind certain things and there are repercussions behind them, too. Then you have to wake up every day and face the world, whether they perceive you in the right perspective or it’s a totally different outlook on you.

“You just have to be strong and believe in yourself and be optimistic. That’s what I’ve been able to do and that’s what I display.”

When you talk to Vick, it sometimes takes him a minute to get to the key point: situations I’ve placed myself in. That is what rankles for some, still, that minute it sometimes takes. But it is all part of a longer process.

Anyway, Vick said, “The thing I told Roger [Goodell] was that, 4 or 5 years from now, when I come to him, I’ll be able to say everything I told you I was going to do, I’m still doing it. That’s what I pride myself on. That’s my focus and that’s my goal.”

That might have seemed a more appropriate time for an award such as this one, not now. Then again, this is all about a bond within a locker room, a place that none of us can hope to understand from the outside

mmmbabyyy

January 24th, 2010
9:49 am

Enter your comments here; Okay, 1st..forget the football story. Did you see his wife??