FLOWERY BRANCH – With four more catches, Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez will have 50 catches for the season, marking the 15 straight season he’s caught at least 50 passes.
As a rookie in 1997, he caught 33 passes. He caught 59 in 1998 and he had a career-high 102 catches in 2004.
“I’ve got to give credit obviously to Matt (Ryan),” Gonzalez said. “Matt is playing really, really well right now. This is the best football he’s ever played in his career and I am not surprised by that. As he goes, we go.”
Gonzalez creates receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones for getting him one-on-one matchups.
“I’ve always felt if I have a one-n-one matchup I should be able to win the majority of times,” Gonzalez said. “I’m not going to win them all. But for the most part I am going to win them.”
Here’s some more from the future Hall of Famer:
On his level of admiration for Dallas tight end Jason Witten: Well, I have all of the respect for him. He plays the position the way it’s supposed to be played. He’s definitely, without a doubt, a dual tight end. That means he blocks and catches and obviously where the state of the tight end is at in the NFL right now. I mean a lot of these guys are just catching passes so I love seeing a guy like him blocking and catching the ball and doing both things very, very well.
On his start to the season: I’ve got to give credit obviously to Matt. Matt is playing really, really well right now. This is the best football he’s ever played in his career and I am not surprised by that. As he goes, we go. Then also with the addition of a guy like Roddy White on the outside and then you’ve got Julio Jones on the other side and Harry Douglas in the slot. It creates matchups and I’ve just been able to get that one-on-one matchup and I’ve always felt if I have a one-n-one matchup I should be able to win the majority of times. I’m not going to win them all. But for the most part I am going to win them.
On whether playing with Ryan will make him postpone retirement: Well, this is probably my last year. The way I am looking for it I am preparing for this to be my last year. I am not going to go all the way. I keep telling everybody the number I’m giving on it is 95 percent sure. There is no doubt I could keep playing for a couple more years at a pretty high level but it’s just almost that time for me. I see the window closing and hopefully it makes the choice easy if we go out and win a Super Bowl this year and I can ride off into the sunset.
On the player working to get him to change his mind: They’re doing their thing, especially Matt and Roddy and all of those guys. And I understand that. But I’m not even come close to thinking about that until the end of the season. A like I said, for the most part in my mind, it’s pretty much made up.
On the numbers he put up in Kansas City with the changes at QB: Yeah. It was tough. I ain’t going to lie to you. It was frustrating at times because you look around the league and see other tight ends doing some big things with these great quarterbacks. That’s one thing always mess with Shannon Sharpe about because he tells me he’s the best tight end to ever play the game. In hindsight, you had John Elway you’re whole career though. It’s definitely a luxury I wish I would have had. Nothing against the guys there. I played with some good guys, too, with Trent Green for four or five years. But if I had a guy like Matt for my whole career, shoot, the numbers I would have been able to put up they would have probably been even more. But at the same time, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It was a good experience with those guys out there and I made the most of it. And hopefully, our teams win couple of games.
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