By MICHAEL CUNNINGHAM
FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez is sticking to his pledge that he’s “95 percent” certain he will retire after the season.
That means Sunday’s NFC divisional playoff game against the Seahawks, his 260th when including the playoffs, could be his last in the NFL.
“It’s one and done if we don’t win, (so) for me, this could be it,” he said. “There is no tomorrow. There is no saying, ‘We’ll get them next year.’ It’s about going out there and finishing on the right note.”
Gonzalez, 36, is winding down a career that’s still going strong. He recently was voted to his 14th Pro Bowl team to add to a resume that one day will put him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
But what Gonzalez’s career lacks is a playoff victory. Gonzalez was 0-3 in the postseason with Kansas City and has lost two playoff games with the Falcons.
Gonzalez said pride plays a part in the motivation for both him and the Falcons to end the drought.
“Legacy is what comes in,” he said. “What you do in the playoffs is what (people) remember. It’s a little bit of pressure; it’s a little bit of anxiety, but that’s good. We need that. I need that. I like having a little bit of anxiety because it keeps me going, keeps me alert.”
Gonzalez said it would be “well into the off-season” before he makes his decision official because he wants to talk with his family and make sure he’s doing the right thing. Falcons coach Mike Smith said he’s still clinging to the 5 percent chance that Gonzalez will change his mind and return for another season.
Gonzalez didn’t want to talk about what it would mean to end his career without a playoff victory, but didn’t play down the importance of the game Sunday.
“I’m not going to lie to you: I really, really want to win this game,” he said. “Not just for me, honestly, but for the guys on this team, how hard we’ve worked. This is the best team I’ve ever been a part of as far as environment and talent, too. I really feel we have a real good shot. If we go out there and play our game, we will like the outcome.”
OTHER RECENT STORIES