Falcons’ tight end history vs. Tony Gonzalez

Falcons acquired tight end Tony Gonzalez from the Kansas City Chiefs for a second round pick in 2010. (Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com)

Falcons acquired tight end Tony Gonzalez from the Kansas City Chiefs for a second round pick in 2010. (Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com)

The addition of tight end Tony Gonzalez gives quarterback Matt Ryan another solid target to complement Michael Turner and Roddy White on the Falcons offense, which ranked sixth overall last season.

Gonzalez, who’s entering the third year of a five-year, $35 million contract extension that he signed with the Chiefs in 2007,  will cost the Falcons $6.5 million in 2009, $7 million in 2010 and $8.25 million in 2011 under the salary cap.

Gonzalez, 33, caught 96 passes for 1,058 yards and 10 touchdowns last season for Kansas City. The future Hall of Famer owns NFL career records for tight ends with receptions (916),  yards receiving (10,940), receiving touchdowns (76) and  100-yard receiving games (26). 

When his time is over in Atlanta, how will his time in a Falcons jersey compare to others who’ve donned the Red and Black?

Jim  Mitchell spent 11 seasons in Atlanta from 1969-1979. The two-time Pro Bowl tight end played in 155 games with 305 receptions for 4,358 receiving yards and 28 touchdowns.

    Who would you rank as the best Falcons tight end?

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Junior Miller was the 7th overall pick of the 1980 NFL Draft by the Falcons. Miller played four seasons in Atlanta, and was a member of the 1980 squad that had a club-record 12 wins and won the NFC Western Division title. He led the team in touchdown receptions that season with nine. The two-time Pro Bowl tight end had 1,328 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns as a Falcon. 

Arizona head coach Ken Whisenhunt began his playing career with Atlanta in 1985. He lined up for the Falcons in 55 games, notching 56 receptions for 551 yards and five touchdowns.

A member of the 1998 NFC title team, O.J. Santiago had 819 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in three seasons in Atlanta.  

Brian Kozlowski  played for seven seasons in Atlanta. Alongside Santiago for three of those years he had 891 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. He went to Super Bowl XXXIII with the team and caught one pass for five yards.

In 108 games as a Falcon, Alge Crumpler had 316 receptions for 4,212 yards and 35 touchdowns. He was a four-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time All Pro while in Atlanta.

Where do you think Gonzalez will fall in this crowd? Or will he surpass them all?

61 comments Add your comment

Don from KC

May 15th, 2009
1:50 pm

Gonzalez is a stud and we will miss him. No matter how old he is, he is just as good as he was 5 years ago. I wish him the best in Atlanta.

BigTimeFalconFan

May 15th, 2009
1:57 pm

Best ever = Kellen Winslow!

John from AL.

May 15th, 2009
2:03 pm

I was born in Ga. and grew up in Atlanta watching the Falcons ever since their VERY humble beginnings in 1966. I am a TRUE fan because I have believed in and cheered for the Falcons win or lose, come Hell or High water.
Tony G. hasn’t even played a game yet and on paper he is the BEST tight end we have EVER had bar none. As long as he doesn’t get injured and end up like Bruce Sutter of the Atlanta Braves then we have a very bright future. He gives Matty Ice a definite GO TO GUY that can hold onto the ball. He also takes the pressure off of not only Michael Turner, but the entire offensive line.
Matt Ryan is by far the best QB we have had since the days of Steve Bartkowski. Barring injuries and with a few more quality draft picks this kid (and I am old enough to call him a kid) will get us to and win a Super Bowl. It won’t be this season, but I believe it will be in the next 2 to 3 years if Gonzo/Ryan/Turner stay healthy. I didn’t include Roddy White because he is a plus if he happens to HOLD onto the ball. He definitely could use some lessons from the likes of Billy “White Shoes” Johnson or Alfred Jenkins.

GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

mountain_jim

May 15th, 2009
2:08 pm

AJC Sports topic trolling for page view stats with no real news to report….

How about some reportage concerning what is wrong with Abe that he had to be held out? Did he have any surgeries since last season?

Vick Supporter

May 15th, 2009
3:01 pm

Whopper Dawg

May 15th, 2009
3:04 pm

TG is the best TE we have ever had. Only time will tell if he can catch the other guys in terms of Falcon numbers. Alge Crumpler can’t carry Jim Mitchell’s jock strap. Not even close. Mitchell was a TE before there were TEs if you know what I mean, an All Pro playing on incredible bad teams, just like Nobis, who is one of the best linebackers to ever play the game.

sameold

May 15th, 2009
3:33 pm

I was think the same thing, mountain jim. Its a little sad

PMC

May 15th, 2009
3:51 pm

ha ha ha. OJ Santiago…. what about Reggie Kelly?

Matt

May 15th, 2009
3:57 pm

F*** Mike Vick! we have a real QUARTERBACK!

jimmy

May 15th, 2009
4:24 pm

jim mitchell was so well respected that when the falcons played a george allen team he designed his whole defense to stop meat

Vick Supporter

May 15th, 2009
4:26 pm

Matt: “F*** Mike Vick! we have a real QUARTERBACK!”

Yeah, a QB who’s arm looked like a noodle 12 games into the season,lol

Vick 09. Redemption is near………NEXT WEEK

Falcon Devil

May 15th, 2009
4:36 pm

Have fun rooting for the Vikings or Broncos Vick butt licker!!

Vick Supporter

May 15th, 2009
4:45 pm

Falcon Devil, I will. Both of those teams with Vick at QB would wipe the floor with the Falcons. You know damn well you wouldn’t want to see Vick with the Vikings. And F the Falcons. Ryan will be exposed this year. I have no ill will towards Ryan, but he’s no Mike Vick on the field, and it will be proven. It’s funny how you caucasian Falcons fans were cheering and calling Vick the magician in cleats and turn around and say the he was the worse QB ever and he’s never done anything positive for the Falcons. That’s why I’m no longer a fan and never will be because you Falcons fans don’t know how to support your players and appreciate them when you have them. You people will turn on Roddy (again) when he gets his contract and starts dropping passes again (which he will do). I can’t wait to see how you people blame everyone but Ryan when the team starts losing again, while Vick will be dominating the NFL AGAIN.

Vick 09

JP in El Paso

May 15th, 2009
4:49 pm

Jim Mitchell was a beast. I’m sure this guy will be terrific, would love to have both of them on the same team!

El Lobo

May 15th, 2009
5:03 pm

VS: You’re right, Matt Ryan is no Mike Vick – he wins, doesn’t head up criminal organizations, and hasn’t done time in a federal pen. Ryan has already been exposed… exposed to a full schedule in the NFL and more than held his own. With the additiona of TG, we’ll definitely make the playoffs again this year!

Chunkdaddy53 in Athens

May 15th, 2009
5:05 pm

Mitchell,crump,Gonzo, in that order, for now. We’ll see if gonzo can stay with the team long enough to be the best Falcon TE of all time! I’ve been a Falcons fan since 1980, and I’ve seen my share of bad TE’s. Mitch Lyons, Reggie Kelly, Stone hands Santiago, the list goes on. Crump was a good tight end, one of the best the Falcons ever had, I hated to see him leave, but we now have one in place in Gonzo. I was a fan of his in K.C., and am glad to see him in ATL. Sorry K.C.

Fan since 1982

May 15th, 2009
5:05 pm

Don’t you ever get tired of rehashing the past, everyone? Vick did waht he did, and it’s over. If he plays again, he plays again. If the Falcons rock out, they rock out. Personally I would rather have Ryan that Vick under center AT THIS POINT IN THEIR CAREERS. I was a Vick fan, now I am a Ryan fan. I own a pit bull and think Vick is a slime bag for what he did; my disdain for him is twofold: he is a callous animmal killer, and he ALSO set this franchise back a lot of years and a lot of money, because his irresponsible and brutish action cost us his skills, and we SPENT THE FIRST PICK IN THE DRAFT on him. He set us back YEARS by doing stupid things in his personal life.

Let’s stop the destructive crap, and look forward to 2009.

Phillip

May 15th, 2009
5:08 pm

Gonzo will be the “BEST EVER” Tight End in Atlanta – it won’t be close. However, its doubtful that he will eclipse Crumpler’s records but it took Crump seven seasons to amass his stats and Gonzo will come close in only three seasons with the Falcons.

Why?

May 15th, 2009
5:09 pm

Why is there so much hatred towards Michael Vick? His life is the one that got ruined not ours. I understand not wanting him here anymore because of what happened but D@MN! Some of you people act like he never did anything for our franchise. Before Vick it was like Atlanta Who? The Falcons? You mean they’re still in the league? I happen to think the Falcons are very fortunate to have two of the better QB’s in the NFL in the same decade. Matt Ryan is no dud, I don’t care how much you like Vick. To say Ryan will be exposed or fall from earth is like saying Vick couldn’t run. It’s just hatred.

Chunkdaddy53 in Athens

May 15th, 2009
5:10 pm

Let’s not forget Shane Dronett. He wasn’t a TE, but a DT for the Falcons in the late 90’s. He passed away a few months ago and he will be missed. Shane helped us clog-up the middle on our ‘98 Super Bowl team.

Chunkdaddy53 in Athens

May 15th, 2009
5:13 pm

Amen brother! Vick did what he did and now he’s gone. He does own the best winning% of All the Bird’s QB’s. Even so, his time is over and Ryan’s time is now! 2009 NFC CHAMPS baby!

Falcon Devil

May 15th, 2009
5:15 pm

Vick Supporter, I see a canker sore on your mouth, did Ron Mexico give you that?

Falcon Devil

May 15th, 2009
5:18 pm

Falcons are awesome!!!! Can’t wait to see Tony G’s first TD!!!!

Falcon Devil

May 15th, 2009
5:19 pm

Who is the best fantasy player after Turner? White, Tony G or Ryan???

Greg

May 15th, 2009
5:41 pm

TG is a great player, and will make an impact for a couple years. But one also has to amortize the price we paid…a pretty big contract, and a (probably pretty high) 2nd-round pick, i.e. a player expected to be very good for many years. Probably about fair value. KC certainly did not get robbed, however; and given the Falcons’ schedule this year, and the likely outcome, they were very wise to hold out for NEXT year’s 2nd round pick.

rmutt1917

May 15th, 2009
6:57 pm

Funny, in KC the debate is whether he is the greatest player they’ve had, period. You guys must have high standards.

kj

May 15th, 2009
7:03 pm

Falcon Devil I’d go with TG. He will be the outlet valve for Ice when teams come barreling down on him. At least that’s who is going on my fantasy team. IMO vick was good. He did bring the franchise back into respectability while he was in the league however, he also made ignorant decisions which set not only us but him back significantly. I do believe that we were better off for that though. look at it this way, no vick= Thomas Dimitroff, Mike Smith, Matty Ice, new attitude and hopefully more wins. Dont get me wrong, I loved vick, but I love my falcons more so guys, gals, cat, dogs, whatever let the past be the past and lets celebrate the present and bright future as an organization. Go Get Em Falcons!!!!!

JP in El Paso

May 15th, 2009
7:08 pm

Mitchell had great hands and tough to tackle. He would just run over guys, and it usually 2 or 3 guys to bring him down He was incredibly underrated, mostly because he played on lousy teams. Crumpler was also a great TE, but it’s tough to put him in front of Mitchell. Gonzalez is a great one as well, but hasn’t played a down for us yet. I remember watching JM as a kid, or listening to the announcers go crazy when he caught the ball. He was truly amazing. Was perhaps the best player on the Falcons most of the years he was with the team, certainly always in the top 3.

Mv

May 15th, 2009
7:34 pm

jim mitchell won the playoff game against the eagles, and his stats are are superior to any falcon tight end.

Darrin "The Vent King"

May 15th, 2009
7:35 pm

It will be hard to judge who was the best TE simply because every tight end you speak of had a different coach who utilized that TE differently, a different QB who was only capable of doing what he did at that time, and a different team that only provided so many opportunities to go the way of that TE. Put it this way, what if Alge played with a QB who didn’t have to throw it to him ALL the time because he could see other rcvrs or wasn’t the only one who could handle his bullet throws would Alge’s stats been so lofty? What if Pig Miller didn’t have the accurate passing of Steve Bartkowski? What if Dan Reeves hadn’t of ran plays that had Chandler handing the ball off a million times to Jamal Anderson and instead had a better proportion of plays going to O.J. Santiago? Now I will say this, had Gonzo came hear a couple of years ago, I think there’s no question he would probably statistically pass all the other TEs. As it is, he is 33 and he STILL will come close to passing all the others in the stat box, but to me NONE of that matters. Gonzo has the opportunity over the next few seasons to do what not only no other TE has done with the Falcons, but no other PLAYER has done with the Falcons and I believe that is winning the Superbowl. The stars are really lining up correctly for this to be IMO and one of those stars is Gonzo. The other stars- Matt Ryan, Roddy, Burner Turner, Big Abe, M Jenkins, Ovie, Sam Baker, the young guns like Lofton and Harry Douglass, then the front office like Coach Smith, Dimitroff, and of course Arthur Blank. It’s happening right before our eyes people. We as Falcon fans deserve this after what happened a couple of years ago too, heck our whole existence now that I think about it. Gonzo is a BIG piece toward the Lombardi IMO. We still have to fix the defense of course, but that is Mike Smith’s specialty (Ravens, Jags) and his resume gives me much confidence that is going to be taken care of. So in the end, Gonzo’s TE superiority over other Falcon TEs really won’t matter much to me cause he just happens to be the right TE for the right moment on this Falcon team that’s going to MAKE history!

GO FALCONS

The Ole Ball Coach

May 15th, 2009
7:47 pm

Jim Mitchell was a beast in an era where a TE was suppose to block only…

Maconga

May 15th, 2009
8:12 pm

Russ Makeska goes way back. Now plays a mean golf game at Cuscowilla at Lake Oconee.

I once was a Vick Supporter. BUT, in the end, he provided poor leadership and blamed others. I hope he can find a job in the NFL but I am VERY happy to have Matty Ice. Yes, his arm got a little weak late in the year, but he has leadership intangibles MV never had.

This isn’t white or black, it is just the truth.

David Smith

May 15th, 2009
9:06 pm

Tony Gonzalez will be a huge addition to our offense this year in two ways. 1.He gives Matt Ryan another weapon to exploit defenses when they try to put 8 in the box for turner or try to double roddy. 2. It helps out our young defense because we will be able to match up with just about anyone offensively to mask any holes on defense.

VICKSUPPORTERSUCKSBALLS

May 16th, 2009
12:11 am

VICK SUPPORTER YOU ARE A RACIST HYPOCRITICAL DUMBASS IGNORANT FOOL SHUT THE HELL UP WITH YOUR BLOG SWITCHING HATING ASS VICK COULD RUN THAT WAS IT BITCH CAN THROW 100 YARDS WITH NO ACCURACY AND 5 YARDS WITH NO ACCURACY HE SUCKED. HE SOLD TICKETS BIG DEAL I PREFER WINNING AND MATTY SELLIN TICKETS TOO! YOU SUCK VICK HAD CHANCE BUT BLEW DONT CARE BOUT DOG FIGHTING THING I BIT BUT HE BLEW HIS CHANCE N DATS IT GL IF NOTHA TEAM WANT HIM BUT NOT GONNA HELP EM NOW WITH HIS LOOSE BOOTY THING GOING ON

Vick Supporter

May 16th, 2009
3:46 am

One year isn’t going to tell the whole story on how Matt Ryan will ultimately turn out. Ryan may be perceived as more cerebral, but can he sustain success and overcome obstacles on the field and off the field? Vick has missed nearly two years of football, but was 38-28 as a starter, a three-time Pro Bowler and led his team to a conference championship game.

Ryan has yet to beat a NFC South team on the road and is totally dependent on the success of Michael Turner duplicating his Pro Bowl season that garnered him NFL MVP votes. Ryan didn’t fall totally flat on his face and showed he had some moxie and was able to lead the Falcons to a 11-5 record.

However, one has to take into account last year’s soft schedule–especially early in the season which included the winless Lions and hapless Chiefs in back to back weeks. The 2009 schedule starts off with last year’s playoff-bound Miami who is not a pushover and has a potent offense as well.

Many are talking about the acquisition of Tony Gonzalez, but he is 34 years old. Last year he played at a high level on a bad Kansas City Chiefs’ team, but any athlete over 30 is deemed year to year which means overnight their skills could vanish. Gonzalez isn’t a long-term solution for the Falcons and Roddy White is in the last year of his contract and it is not certain he will stay with the Falcons.

Turner is the key to the Falcons staying relevant and making Ryan look respectable, but defensively the Falcons will be very young and inexperienced outside of John Abraham and Eric Coleman. Defensively, the Falcons were nearly in the bottom third in most categories and during the off season the loss of veterans Keith Brooking, Dominique Foxworth, Lawyer Milloy, Grady Jackson, Michael Boley and Rod Coleman is no small thing. This is significant and no one is really focusing on it, but conceivably the Falcons could have one of the worst defenses in the NFL next year.

The drafting of William Moore and Peria Jerry looks good on paper, but will they be able to duplicate the experience and production of Milloy and Grady Jackson in one year? Not likely. Also, can the first-year players stay healthy and on the field? Peria Jerry got hurt in one of his first practices…hopefully that isn’t a sign to come.

Matt Ryan could be the next Carson Palmer on mediocre to bad Falcon teams and fails to show leadership despite being anointed as one of the chosen ones at the QB position. Ryan may be more cerebral, but does he have the heart to overcome potential obstacles (tougher competition, injuries to key players, bad defense, negative press)? Right now, Matt Ryan and the Falcons are a big question mark for the 2009 season.

The Trurth Comes Out

May 16th, 2009
10:12 am

Come on Vick supporter. He is gone…. it is over…. he wont be back….he wasnt that good….I know you could never admit it but it’s true. Sorry but the train has left the station and you were not on it. Try and catch a bus and catch up to the new direction the Falcons are going in or just drown in your sorrows. Poor little fellow. Bless your heart! :-)

Stephen

May 16th, 2009
12:20 pm

I am totally amazed at the ignorance of those who keep stating that Atlanta Falcons did not have a team until Michael Vick. Back during the days when Atlanta played in the Fulton County Stadium there were lots of sold out games. There were also sold out games at the GA Dome when Deion Sanders was here.

Some of you might not be old enough to actually know the city’s history with the Falcons, but please go someplace, do some research and become informed before you post your TOTALLY INCORRECT garbage comments about Atlanta not having a team prior to MV.

TRUE ATLANTA FALCONS’ FANS CHEER FOR THE TEAM, AND NOT FOR ONE OR TWO PLAYERS. THAT IS WHY IT IS KNOWN AS A TEAM SPORT!!!! GO FALCONS IN 2009-2010!!!

Vick Supporter

May 16th, 2009
12:56 pm

The Trurth Comes Out, sorry man. I used to be a falcons fan until I saw how the “fans” turned their backs on him. I understand being upset about the dogfighting, but for fans to say he never did anything positive for the franchise and all of a sudden he’s the “worst qb ever” rubbed me the wrong way. That’s why I say F the Falcons. I feel like Mr.Blank did what he had to do as far as getting a QB. It’s you fans that have ruined alot of people’s fellings about the Falcons due to your ignorance and racist statements/thoughts.

Vick 09

BurningRedBleedingBlack

May 16th, 2009
1:06 pm

Vick had it all, he had the whole world in his hands, the choices he made were his own fault. That being said it over for him in Atlanta. However that doesn’t mean he does not deserve a chance somewhere else. I love….LOVE the new Falcons. Matt Ryan, Turner, TG, I really feel good about are team. Vick put us in a bad spot for a couple of years.The new young players stepped in a took care of us. Now Atlanta has a chance to be GREAT instead of good.

OldTimer

May 16th, 2009
6:05 pm

Tony Gonzalez will turn punts into field goals and field goals into touchdowns. How many? Over the course of a season, I’d say about eight of each. He really does put points on the board. Great move by the Falcons.

brew

May 16th, 2009
6:36 pm

Can you imagine us on third down conversions or in the red zone with Tony G, Jenkins, and the Fin Man. With that type of size we should really be able to the the job done. Tony is not just a reciever, he can also hold his own in run blocking which means that he will be on the field at all times. When all is said and done, his success will not be measured only by receptions. Because he will comand so much attention it will keep double teams off of the other recievers and keep teams for stacking the box against the running game. It’s like Jordan picking up Paxon or Pippin. The result= best offense in the pros.

Phoneguy

May 16th, 2009
7:27 pm

Hey Vick Supporter:
Don’t you mean Vick 09-22313
Isn’t that his prison Number?

Phoneguy

May 16th, 2009
7:31 pm

And also Vick Supporter:
The reason Matty Ice’s arm was a noodle: He was a rookie. In college, they only play 11 games. He wasn’t used to it. Can you imagine what his numbers will be in year 2. With all offseason to condition to an NFL season. WOW

Face it: Vick is done!…… Sorry

Rabiddawg

May 16th, 2009
11:35 pm

I can’t wait to see how you people blame everyone but Ryan when the team starts losing again, while Vick will be dominating the NFL AGAIN.

Vick 09

Dude, Let it go. How can you criticize the Falcons for severing ties with Vick. And to your quote above, dominating the NFL again? What team were you watching? He didn’t even dominate the NFC South, and I loved Vick.

Boxcarar

May 17th, 2009
1:00 am

Don’t take the bait. In TEAM we trust. Go Birds!!!

HATinGA

May 17th, 2009
5:18 am

please every1 learn if you dont post reponses to the Vick crowd maybe they will go away!

Jonnyboy

May 17th, 2009
9:35 am

Vick supporter your just a ….Oh I can’t say that. You are living in a fantasy land. Vick was a great runner not a QB. He made all-pro by running not being a QB and if I remember right the offense was positioned to let him run. He also had some help from a RB named Dunn and a good TE.
When will you blacks drop the hatred for Matt and start rooting for the guy to succeed. Now that was a rhetorical question. I already know the answer.
For you are your ilk, football is about being a TEAM player.

snaddermen

May 17th, 2009
12:03 pm

Is this a white/black thing. If they switched skin colors would all you bloggers change teams.

brad

May 17th, 2009
12:20 pm

vick supporter vick is a dumb ass he sicks and is a fag u never see him with a female and matty already has a better record his first year. i hope vick nevers plaies again. if u forgot vick shoot his fans and the falcon fans a bird after a game.

Ripped again.

May 17th, 2009
1:10 pm

Vicksupporter is just bitter that his “boy”isnt going get another job in the NFL because no one wants his dog killing dope smoking thug life ways on their team ..Vick’s lucky if not with Quincy Carter playing in the arana leauge playing in some small town in south Tx .