Tony Gonzalez nears No. 2 all-time receiving spot

ALL-TIME RECEPTIONS LEADERS

Player –Years — Rec.
Jerry Rice –1985-04 –1,549
Marvin Harrison — 1996-08 — 1,102
Cris Carter — 1987-02 — 1,101
Tony Gonzalez — 1997-10 — 1,099

101128 Atlanta - Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith celebrates on the sidelines with tight end Tony Gonzalez after he caught a Matt Ryan pass for a touchdown to give the Falcons a 10-3 lead over the Green Bay Packers in the final seconds of the 2nd quarter at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010.   Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

101128 Atlanta - Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith celebrates on the sidelines with tight end Tony Gonzalez after he caught a Matt Ryan pass for a touchdown to give the Falcons a 10-3 lead over the Green Bay Packers in the final seconds of the 2nd quarter at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez is closing in on another major receiving milestone.

He needs four receptions when the Falcons face the Detroit Lions at 1 p.m. Sunday at Ford Field to move into second place all-time on the NFL’s receptions list.

Gonzalez currently ranks fourth with 1,099 catches. He could pass Cris Carter (1,101) and Marvin Harrison (1,102).

Tony Gonzalez Day" - Atlanta Falcons team owner Arthur Blank honors tight end Tony Gonzalez with a pregame ceremony commemorating his 1,000th catch at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

Tony Gonzalez Day" - Atlanta Falcons team owner Arthur Blank honors tight end Tony Gonzalez with a pregame ceremony commemorating his 1,000th catch at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

“Yeah, it’s a big deal,” Gonzalez told the Associated Press on Thursday. “Obviously, during the game, whenever that time comes, I’ll know when I catch that fourth one. I hold my own clock inside, but it’s one of those things, in the heat of the battle, you can’t worry about that. I’ll probably relish on it after the game.”

At age 35, he likely doesn’t have enough time remaining in the league to catch Jerry Rice (1,549).

“Without a doubt, with no disrespect to any of the other tight ends, including Ozzie Newsome, who I know very well, I think he’s probably the best tight end to ever play the game,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said Wednesday. “His work ethic is just unbelievable. It will be quite an individual honor for Tony to become the second-leading guy.”

Gonzalez, an 11-time Pro Bowler, originally was drafted in the first round (13th overall) by the Kansas City Chiefs in 1997. He was traded to the Falcons for a second-round pick on April 23, 2009.

Gonzalez quickly integrated into the offense and caught 83 passes in 2009 and 70 last season. He has 30 catches and a team-leading four touchdowns this season. He has caught at least 70 passes in 11 of the past 12 seasons.

100813 Atlanta - GONZALEZ FIRST DOWN - Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez (88) makes a first down catch as he is brought down by Chiefs cornerback Brandon Carr (39) during 1st quarter action in the exhibition season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Friday, August 13, 2010.     Curtis Compton  ccompton@ajc.com

100813 Atlanta - GONZALEZ FIRST DOWN - Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez (88) makes a first down catch as he is brought down by Chiefs cornerback Brandon Carr (39) during 1st quarter action in the exhibition season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Friday, August 13, 2010. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

“He’s been incredible for my career,” quarterback Matt Ryan said. “He’s done a lot for me both on the field and off the field. I’m certainly glad that we got him a couple of years ago.”

Also, Gonzalez needs 5 yards receiving to move past Irving Fryar for 13th place on the career yards-receiving list with 12,786 yards.

“I quit the first year I played, but my brother made me get back out there,” Gonzalez said. “So for me to say I thought this could ever happen is something I never imagined. It makes it that much sweeter to know that my family and my teammates have been there to help me along the way.”

Because he’s going up against an old friend in Detroit defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham, Gonzalez doesn’t expect the four catches to come without a major tactical battle.

Gonzalez and Cunningham, known for his blitz packages, spent seven seasons together with the Chiefs.

“He’s over there calling the defenses, and I have a pretty good history with him and great respect for him,” Gonzalez said.

Cunningham is not calling blitzes as much as he did when he was Kansas City’s coordinator from 1995-98 and 2004-08.

“I haven’t seen that on film,” Gonzalez said. “I haven’t seen too much of it all. But he still has his style, where it’s going to be man-to-man, up in your face and letting that front seven or front four get after that quarterback. He likes that. That’s probably why he’s not blitzing — because he doesn’t have to.”

Going into each game, Gonzalez expects to receive some extra attention from a safety and a linebacker. The teams that have left him in single coverage this season have paid dearly.

Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez and his wife October Gonzalez will have family visitors this weekend.  CURTIS COMPTON / ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez and his wife October Gonzalez will have family visitors this weekend. CURTIS COMPTON / ccompton@ajc.com

He had seven catches for 83 yards and two touchdowns playing against Philadelphia, which deploys the same wide-tackle defense that Cunningham runs with Detroit.

“Going into the Carolina game, I thought there was some big opportunities because of what [New Orleans’ Jimmy] Graham was able to do to them the week before, but they kind of closed that up when I got there.”

Gonzalez had a few tips on how the Lions might try to play him.

“The luxury that I have right now is that they did play against [San Francisco’s] Vernon Davis last week and [Tampa Bay’s] Kellen Winslow early,” Gonzalez said. “They want to get physical. I don’t expect him to treat me any differently than how he treated those two.”

Davis, a Pro Bowler in 2009, was held to two catches for 8 yards last week. Winslow caught six passes for 66 yards against Detroit on Sept. 11.

Gonzalez doesn’t expect Ryan to force passes into him.

“Their defense presents a problem,” Gonzalez said. “They get after the quarterback really well. Their front four is exceptional. You want to make sure that you keep Matt clean. Keep him healthy and upright so that he can get the ball out of his hands.”

Ryan appears certain that he and Gonzalez will hook up four times in the near future. If they don’t get them all against Detroit, they’ll have a good shot against Indianapolis after the bye week.

“First of all, it’s an unbelievable accomplishment,” Ryan said. “It’s a testament to how good of a player that he is, how good he’s worked for a long time and how talented that he is. It’s just fun to be a part of those things as a player.”

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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60 comments Add your comment

nateslice

October 22nd, 2011
10:56 am

nateslice

October 22nd, 2011
10:57 am

Rey

October 22nd, 2011
11:01 am

Tony is one of the best things to happen to the Falcons. Classy guy, real leader, encourager, competitor and I could go on and on. You rarely see those qualities in people today let alone athletes.

waynester

October 22nd, 2011
11:55 am

Didn’t follow Gonzalez when he was a Chief but now I see why KC loved him so much. Great addition to our organization. Let’s win a few SBs and have him make a difficult decision to enter the HOF as a Chief or Falcon…..

Leeman Bennett

October 22nd, 2011
12:00 pm

I hope he will keep playing for years to come.

Dr. Warren

October 22nd, 2011
12:07 pm

October looks more like a June to me. Hardly in her autumn stage.

SeenThisB4

October 22nd, 2011
1:38 pm

That will be the highlight of the falcan’t season for 2011, seeing if Gonzalez can break receiving records.

Monday Morning QB

October 22nd, 2011
2:33 pm

@SeenThisB4 – You’re finally back! You seemed to disapear after the another Aints loss to a lousy team thanks to another Brees meltdown

The three picks against the Bucs was not an isolated anomaly. Brees has been picked off 30 times in the last 22 games. By comparison Ryan has thrown 15 in the same number of games. Ryan is clearly not yet an elite QB and he may never be one but he has plenty of company and that includes the most over rated QB in the NFL, Drew Brees.

hiramsaint

October 22nd, 2011
3:15 pm

and still ZERO playoff wins. @ mmqb-would that be the same lousy team that spanked the failclowns? yes , i thought it was. maybe they are not that lousy-1st place in the nfc south(temporarily)

hiramsaint

October 22nd, 2011
3:18 pm

i also like how the failclowns are acting like all of gonzos success is due to them . what a bunch of posers! win A playoff game then you might matter to someone.

SeenThisBFalcon

October 22nd, 2011
3:32 pm

Hiram and SeenthisB4 lets see if the Saints come marching in 13 Nov 2011 I’ll make sure I invite you to my tailgate so I can put you and your Ain’ts on my grill and let em burn…GO FALCONS!!!

SawThat1nce

October 22nd, 2011
3:54 pm

hymensaint and STDB4, are you’all just now getting over your saints getting their butts kicked, again?

SawThat1nce

October 22nd, 2011
3:55 pm

Please, get lost. Thanks.

SeenThisB4

October 22nd, 2011
4:08 pm

@MondayMorningQB:

That stat you cite has only one response: “So what?” Brees is still one of the top five QBs in the league, as his QBR for the year will testify. Over-rated you say? Kinda of tough to dispute the statistics thru six games this year. Your QB isn’t even in the top 20, which not only makes him “not elite”, it makes him “mediocre”.

By the way, I have never left, I just haven’t posted as much. After 5 games, your sorry team was already 2 games back. I didn’t have to say anything, because, as you like to cite stats, the most important stat of all, was doing all the talking for me.

Michael M.

October 22nd, 2011
4:55 pm

Tony Gonzalez over Detroit 31-27 ! ! !

Michael M.

October 22nd, 2011
4:58 pm

Now Now lets keep the hostile words out of the post please……lol……if yah trolls cant take the heat then get out of “our Kitchen” ! Yeah we got those Aints in a couple more weeks dunt we ? grins

SeenThisB4

October 22nd, 2011
5:25 pm

@Michael M: What heat? The hot air from y’alls posts perhaps? LOL!

Monday Morning QB

October 22nd, 2011
5:37 pm

@SeenThisB4

The Falcons are 1 game back after 6 games and the Falcons won the division last season so I’m not sure what “important” stat is talking for you. Ryan also had a higher QB rating than Brees last season and this season is far from over. I actaully think both teams are to flawed to make much noise this season but at least I’m honest enough to see it. Your team does not have a good enough defense to overcome a careless QB and the Falcons are to weak on both lines of scrimmage. But our future is brighter, our young QB is good and will get better with a dynamic young receiver while the best days of your older QB are behind him.

SeenThisB4

October 22nd, 2011
5:42 pm

Good luck Detroit! Donnez-leur un coup de pied dans au cul!

Monday Morning QB

October 22nd, 2011
5:44 pm

@hiramsaint

The Bucs are a lousy team – They may have won a few games but they don’t pass the eye test (see the 49ers game) and I am more disapointed by that loss than any other Falcon loss this season. At least we gave them a better game and their top weapon (Blount) wasn’t on the self like he was for the Saints game. They blew the Aints out of building, only a couple of garbage time scores made it look respectable.

SeenThisB4

October 22nd, 2011
5:47 pm

Drew Brees is careless? LOL! What a joke! Your young QB has turned the ball over more than anybody else in the entire league. He’s got 5 ints, and 4 lost fumbles. NINE turnovers, one QB, and he’s your bright future?!!! Ah, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

Monday Morning QB

October 22nd, 2011
5:55 pm

30 interceptions in 1 plus season and how did the Tampa game end. Oh yeah, Brees threw it up for grabs and Tampa grabbed it. At least he didn’t throw it underhanded like he did in the Falcon game last season. Fumbles are not a product of QB ball protection, it is fallout from falty line play which has plagued the Falcons this season. If you are at the top of the interception list year afer year like Brees you are careless with the ball. Duh.

SeenThisB4

October 22nd, 2011
5:57 pm

MMQB: Ryan lost those fumbles, not the o-line.

That’s the hot air I was talking about. Total BS.

Monday Morning QB

October 22nd, 2011
6:14 pm

The only hot air is the fowl Brees that is blowing games left and right by throwing the ball to the other team I have a couple of theories about why this happens.

1. The munchkin can’t quite see over the line of scrimmage.

2. That roadmap on his face cast some kind of freaky shadow the messes with his depth perception.

3. He is pro-occupied thinking about what kind of lame all for show pre- game BS he is going to do before the next game.

4. He is just a bad player

You can pick any of these or maybe you can be like your “hero” and have multiple picks.

SeenThisB4

October 22nd, 2011
6:14 pm

MMQB: I just check with STATS, and Ryan has 6 INTs this year, plus 4 lost fumbles, that’s 10 turnovers attibuted to one player. Brees has zero lost fumbles this year.

Oh, here’s something else for you to consider, Brees throws the ball way more often. On a percent basis, Ryan has been intercepted 2.75% of the times he’s thrown the ball, Brees has been intercept 3.03%. Brees has had 264 attempts, Myan has had 218 attempts, let’s see how many INTs ryan has when he gets to 264 passes.

SeenThisB4

October 22nd, 2011
6:15 pm

And I guess Ryan is blowing more games than Brees, just cause he’s mediocre.

Monday Morning QB

October 22nd, 2011
6:21 pm

Wow, you’re looking at a whole six games. I guess if you picked just one game you could make an even better case. Look at the last 22 games and maybe you might start to see the truth. Never mind, you are way too myopic to be bothered with reality.

SeenThisB4

October 22nd, 2011
6:32 pm

MMQB: Last 22 games? Nawh, if I were going to do that, I would look at the last 38 games, or in fact Drew Brees’ entire career. But, like most of the NFL, I’m only looking at this season, the only thing that counts. You’re looking at the last 22 only to generate a point, but so what? Brees played the entire year last year on a bum knee, so as far as I am concerned those INTs were an aberration of the truth. And even with that, he won 11 games. Can your young bright spot do that? Nope, and he never will. But never mind, I’m not the one that needs the prescription lenses to see the facts right up front. Anyway, Good luck Lions!

Monday Morning QB

October 22nd, 2011
6:38 pm

I actually think Bees is a little overrated but my true feeling is that is an exceptional player that has done a lot with very limited athletic measurable and deserves much respect. I was just f_ _ _ ing with you.

I do wish he would retire that lame pre-game ritual; it is more annoying than the Ray Lewis dance.

SeenThisB4

October 22nd, 2011
6:40 pm

Yeah, I sort of agree with that last comment, BUT the networks love it!

hiramsaint

October 22nd, 2011
7:06 pm

last 22 games aye? failclowns still have ZERO playoff wins . as i said b4 , win at least A playoff game then your smak talk might actually count .untill then , you are the failclowns!

hiramsaint

October 22nd, 2011
7:08 pm

sorry , i forgot to say—GEAUX LIONS !!!

FAL CON YEAH!

October 22nd, 2011
7:25 pm

OK, Falcons fans. For those of you that are congregating for the FALCON YEAH SLASH MOB, we will be meeting on the corner of Featherstone and Emerson on the north side of the Silverdome.
This week we were lucky enough to get the band from East Kentwood H.S. (The FALCONS!!!!) to play with us, as we bring more power by the hour. SHOW UP – TAUNT, FIGHT, WIN!!!! GO FALCONS!!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgWA_n6M-DQ

JayCool 4DABirds

October 22nd, 2011
7:34 pm

Man you guys have turned a blog about the wondeful career of Tony G. into a Brees vs. Ryan BF(that’s not best friend either). I’m glad we have Tony G. down here in Atlanta. I just hope he waits until they get back to the dome to make those two catches( I’m aware that is a very unlikely outcome). Yay for Tony G.!!!!!!!

hiramsaint

October 22nd, 2011
7:58 pm

well with tony having ZERO playoff wins , theres not much more to talk about now is there. a player of impact would surely have at least one playoff win in 15 years. i mean really , who goes through 15 or 16 nfl seasons and can’t even get 1 playoff win. new subject time , this one was over b4 it started!

Greg Moundine

October 22nd, 2011
9:34 pm

Gonzalez take them as they come. We have a long season left. Run, Run, Run, the hell out of Turner and the rest of the backs this weekend to setup the pass. Go Falcons!

Jordan

October 22nd, 2011
9:35 pm

Not a Falcon fan

October 22nd, 2011
10:01 pm

Tony G. may have all the numbers. One he doesn’t have is SB wins. Zero !!!!!!!

CGD..

October 22nd, 2011
11:16 pm

No money game WINS Tony over 15 years?????????? WOW!

What a great trivia question?

STB4 is dropping knowledge!!!!!!!!

Wish we had Drew!

Brickyard Simpson

October 22nd, 2011
11:42 pm

Tony G………What a steady performer……….If Ryan can get it anywhere near him, the man seems to own the pass coming toward him. He blocks like a Patton tank………..Lets beat Detroit while seeing Tony G reach the no.2 reciever list.

lowdownjj

October 23rd, 2011
12:25 am

LOVE TonyG88 What a class act and tireless worker. Not to mention HOF talent Play a little longer TG

lowdownjj

October 23rd, 2011
12:26 am

And RUN BURNER RUN!!

BILLY SIMS

October 23rd, 2011
12:33 am

LIONS HAVE A BYE TOMMOROW
LIONS 51 FALCONS 17

[...] Atlanta Falcons This entry was posted in Atlanta Falcons and tagged alltime, Gonzalez, nears, receiving, spot, Tony. Bookmark the permalink. ← Oakland Raiders Sign Veteran Kicker Dave Rayner: Fan’s Take (Yahoo! Contributor Network) [...]

SeenThisBFalcon

October 23rd, 2011
7:40 am

Noodle Arm

October 23rd, 2011
9:11 am

“We attack people,” Swinney said. “We’re not afraid to let it fly. We’re going to challenge people and that is our mentality. We’re going to set the tempo and not worry about having second-and-10. We’ll have some three-and-outs along the way but we’re going to keep attacking. The key to us is we’ve got a lot of guys who can make plays and a quarterback who can pull the trigger and make good decisions.” Could we possibly hire this Clemson coach as our head coach????????

Noodle Arm

October 23rd, 2011
9:31 am

Can anyone on here name a Detroit Lion running back? I didn’t think so. I assume most people know who Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson are. It’s a passing league now people! Mike Smith is a dinosaur. Michael Turner is a slow, aging has been, or perhaps, never was. Another dinosaur. Let’s get to the future and air it out. Win or lose — at least it’s entertaining!!

BOOGIES THE MAN FROM HARTWELL GA

October 23rd, 2011
9:55 am

Tony is class……

Glad he came to Atlanta to end his great career…..

Falcons73

October 23rd, 2011
10:56 am

DOL- You have already covered this topic about a month ago…are you just not that into your job. Please provide some in depth coverage and discover some nuggets about our Falcons that we don’t know or is common knowledge.

BILLY SIMS

October 23rd, 2011
12:09 pm

MY LION GOING TO 6-1 TODAY FALCONS WELL WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR

LIONS 51 FALCONS 24