FLOWERY BRANCH—Going to the Pro Bowl isn’t getting old for Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez in part because it proves he’s not too old.
Gonzalez, 36, was voted to his 13th Pro Bowl team on Wednesday. He said this year’s honor might mean more than the others.
“Because the older you get the more people start to doubt you,” he said. “Just because of human nature. ‘You are getting old, there is no way you can move around like you used to.’ I’ve been hearing that. ‘Oh, he’s lost a step, he’s not as fast as he used to be.’
“It’s nice to go out there and play well and tell them, ‘What do you got to say now?’ That’s part of the fun is proving people wrong.”
Gonzalez reiterated his season-long stance that he’s most likely retiring after the season. When a reporter told him he’d said he’s “90 percent” sure, Gonzalez reminded him that he actually said he’s 95 percent sure.
“I see what you are trying to do,” Gonzalez joked. “Jedi mind trick.”
As Gonzalez’s career winds down, Julio Jones is just getting started.
Atlanta’s second-year wide receiver earned his first Pro Bowl selection. He said he’s helped by playing in a high-powered offense that also features Gonzalez, fellow Pro Bowl selection Matt Ryan and wide receiver Roddy White.
“It’s a great honor but I didn’t get there by myself,” Jones said. “Matt is doing a great job looking for me giving me an opportunity to go down field and catch the ball. Roddy and Harry (Douglas) and also Gonzalez are demanding that double team so I can have that one-on-one opportunity to go out there and showcase my skills.”
Gonzalez was named a starter for the NFC squad while Ryan and Jones are reserves. The teams were selected through voting by players, coaches and fans. The game is Jan. 27 in Hawaii, the week prior to the Super Bowl in New Orleans.
The Falcons (13-2) are the NFC’s top team but only placed three players on the NFL’s all-star squad. By contrast the 49ers (10-4-1), who have the third-best record in the NFC, had nine players named to the team and the Chiefs (2-13) have five representatives on the AFC squad.
If the Falcons feel slighted by not getting more players voted to the Pro Bowl squad they didn’t show it.
“I know there are teams with far worse records than we had and they had more guys in the Pro Bowl, but that’s how it goes,” Gonzalez said. “Who cares? Our goal is to play in a different bowl, not the bowl in Hawaii.”
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