Tony Gonzalez says (again) next season will be his last (UPDATED)

Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White seemed to enjoy themselves at the Pro Bowl. (AP photo)

Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White seemed to enjoy themselves at the Pro Bowl. (AP photo)

(UPDATED: 4:45 p.m.)

Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez said Thursday that next season probably will be his last — though it’s not the first offseason he has said that, nor does should it come as a surprise.

Gonzalez, who last month signed a one-year, $6.9 million contract extension with the idea that the 2012 season might be his last one, oddly made Thursday’s declaration not through the team or his agent but rather on an ESPN/Facebook chat, which can be found by clicking here. He is in Indianapolis for the Super Bowl and has been doing interviews on radio row.

Approximately five minutes into the Facebook chat, Gonzalez was asked, “How much longer will you be in the NFL?”

His response: “One year. I said that last year though, and the year before. But I really do believe this is it. First of all, this is the first time my wife came to me and said, ‘You’re only going to play one more year, right?”

I’m assuming the Falcons were not prepared for an official announcement Thursday because the lead story on their webpage centered on cheerleader “Sabrina C,” who apparently was declared the “NFL’s hottest cheerleader” by the fans’ blog site, Bleacher Report. But it’s not the first time Gonzalez has done something like this. A year ago, he declared he was coming back for another season when he was on a talk show hosted by Jim Rome.

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said he has not been told by Gonzalez that this definitely will be his last season, but he wasn’t concerned.

“I know that he’s done fantastic things for us since he’s been here, we signed him to a one-year contract for another season and hopefully he’ll continue to produce well,” Dimitroff said. “But no, I can’t say I’m taken by surprise. There wasn’t an understanding about the future. We were just taking it one year at a time.”

Gonzalez turns 36 Feb. 27. Dimitroff said Gonzalez’s comments won’t affect the team’s offseason plans. Tight end already was considered among the team’s needs, th0ugh most likely behind offensive line, secondary and defensive line.

In your view, how high of a priority should the Falcons make replacing him this offseason?

By Jeff Schultz

83 comments Add your comment

Benjamin

February 2nd, 2012
12:43 pm

Great career. Glad he’s finishing it with us. Hope we send him out a champion…

PMC

February 2nd, 2012
12:46 pm

It will be interesting to see what he does after his pro career is over. All Pro Sports seems to be doing really well.

Greg

February 2nd, 2012
12:49 pm

Excellent asset for the team in many ways. A real locker-room leader. Blocks pretty well, excellent hands. Neither quick nor fast by today’s TE standards, however. In fact, speed-wise, probably in the bottom third among current TEs.

Jamaaliver

February 2nd, 2012
12:54 pm

Not sure what how much the new offense focuses on TE as a receiver, but it’s past time to acquire his heir apparent so he can be tutored for at least a season by the greatest TE to ever play the game.

Here’s hoping we can at least get him a single playoff win before he rides off into the sunset.

Doves

February 2nd, 2012
12:57 pm

If you had October Gonzalez waiting at home I’m sure it would lessen the pain of retirement.

Big Dude

February 2nd, 2012
12:58 pm

If the Steelers can do it for “The Bus”, hopefully we can do it for Tony G.

Justin

February 2nd, 2012
1:06 pm

jay

February 2nd, 2012
1:06 pm

Dude is a class act. He’s one of the guys you really feel bad for. Hopefully the Falcons can win some playoff games for him next season.

Brave Hokie

February 2nd, 2012
1:06 pm

Too bad Tony didn’t get to spend the 2nd part of his career with the Giants, Packers, Patriots, or some organization with the capability of closing in Jan… Good guy.

The Real Falcon

February 2nd, 2012
1:08 pm

Grest player and guy. This is why we need a TE in the draft this year. Really should have used the wasted 3rd round last year for a TE.

Najeh Davenpoop

February 2nd, 2012
1:13 pm

October looks better than both those girls in that pic.

Losing Tony G would be a huge blow to the Falcons. His impact on the offense is greater than what the numbers show, because of his ability to provide a big target and his route running ability drawing defensive attention.

Sonny Clusters

February 2nd, 2012
1:15 pm

What about Jim Mitchell? Some say he was pretty good. Now, Junior Miller? Not so good. When we was playing ball we sometimes played the position and we know how important it is to have an excellent tight end like a Gonzales or a Clusters. Speaking of hanging around another season . . . Chipper is talking about playing after 2012. Let’s hope he’s talking about playing with his grandchildren.

NyaMouth

February 2nd, 2012
1:19 pm

Can somebody tell me why chris redman is still on the team? When will Ryan learn killer instinct and lose his happy feet.

NyaMouth

February 2nd, 2012
1:19 pm

Jeff Schultz I personally think you are a douche bag…there is nothing really creative at all about any of your articles…..

NyaMouth

February 2nd, 2012
1:20 pm

a used douche bag at that

dirk diggler

February 2nd, 2012
1:24 pm

I agree nyamouth Schultz blows

teamguy

February 2nd, 2012
1:25 pm

NyaMouth. .having a bad day, are you? How ’bout spewing your venom elsewhere? Some of it splattered on my new Wranglers.

Love Tony G and hate that he didn’t get a playoff win, but this year should have been enough. Falcons paid too much for him for next season.

B

February 2nd, 2012
1:29 pm

Orsen Charles

D man

February 2nd, 2012
1:32 pm

Gotta get Tony a playoff win and hopefully a Superbowl next year.

Rothschild

February 2nd, 2012
1:43 pm

Justin Peele was good. And is good in SF, but superfluous given the starter they have. Orson Charles, anyone?

MK

February 2nd, 2012
1:46 pm

Maybe we should deal him to a contender so he has a shot at winning a ring.

ralph

February 2nd, 2012
1:50 pm

Second most receptions for any position in the NFL second to Jerry Rice (1,104 October 23, 2011)

A great player, and future Hall of fame candidate for sure.

SirReal

February 2nd, 2012
1:51 pm

This isnt all that surprising. His wife is tired of the grind each year. Kids are getting older,etc. Great guy and hopefully will go deep in the playoffs next year so he can see what its like.

We should have addressed the heir last year I think. However, there are some good TEs coming out so we should be fine. I think Orsen Charles would be a nice fit and might be availabel to snag. Keep him at home!!! lol :)

ziza

February 2nd, 2012
1:53 pm

love tony g. a class act. a family man and a great player. hope he can retire on a high note!!!

happy retirement

February 2nd, 2012
1:55 pm

Sounds like T. Gonzalez’ wife is ready to get the heck out of Atlanta….can you take fulton, dekalb, clayton, and most of cobb with you?

money, money, money

February 2nd, 2012
2:00 pm

If that supplement business doesn’t work out, I’m sure another $7mil paycheck can persuade an extra year to get a new TE.

Whopper Dawg

February 2nd, 2012
2:02 pm

Great guy, great player, too bad his career with the birds didn’t work out as he wished. With the team’s direction south rather than north, he is pretty smart to get out.

JSS

February 2nd, 2012
2:03 pm

Clusters for the Colbert Report! You’re pure gold!

Like I said before, I’m glad that I got a chance to see him (Gonzalez) in his prime when he could run down the seam of any zone and bust a cover two… These past 3 years have been like watching poor Jackie Smith playing with Staubach when his skills were on the decline. Yeah, he’s a key part of the Falcons offense, but that is truly the sad part. He should have been a supplement, but then you folks are still under the delusion of “explosive offense” is coming your way…

Oh, Orson Charles and the other good TEs will be long gone when your pick comes around… Should have thought about about when they were taking the Martrez Milner’s and Keith Zingers of the world!

Gerhart76

February 2nd, 2012
2:06 pm

I don’t believe Orson Charles will be available when the Falcons pick this coming draft. Not to mention they have more pressing needs on the defensive line and some other areas. I think the No.1 focus should be to retain Lofton and as many other free agents they want to keep.

I recognize that folks here generally want to dump Grimes, but who’s gonna replace him?

mike

February 2nd, 2012
2:08 pm

Don’t know why athletes have to announce their retirement. Just retire when the time comes and shut up about it.

retired ..... old and in the way

February 2nd, 2012
2:11 pm

I like Tony but i agree with mike
February 2nd, 2012
2:08 pm

Don’t know why athletes have to announce their retirement. Just retire when the time comes and shut up about it.

ditto on that

February 2nd, 2012
2:14 pm

yep, just retire the old fashioned way

LaRon

February 2nd, 2012
2:15 pm

Hopefully 2012 is Chipper’s last year as well.

Better make that early bird special. Don't forget the coupons honey

February 2nd, 2012
2:17 pm

Think he’ll be going to one of those shuffleboard communities in FL or AZ? hehehe

Mrs. G

February 2nd, 2012
2:19 pm

Both of you, get your stinking paws off those women!

Steve Jobs

February 2nd, 2012
2:20 pm

Ted M

February 2nd, 2012
2:23 pm

Offensive line top priority then defensive line. Then best available player.

Ted M

February 2nd, 2012
2:24 pm

nope, Chipper’s playing 2013 for sure.

mike

February 2nd, 2012
2:26 pm

Great player just in a bad city with a poor sports history. Retire and enjoy the family and whatever second career you have planned. He is a HOF. The Falcons will be awishing and ahopeing for the forseeable future. Same with the other Atlanta sports teams.

Gritz Blitz

February 2nd, 2012
2:32 pm

Tony Gonzalez is the greatest tight end of all-time and we are lucky that he has shared part of his career with us. Nothing would be greater than to win a Super Bowl in his last season. Thank you Tony for giving us one more season.

Mack

February 2nd, 2012
2:52 pm

The last comment from Gritz Blitz is the best one on this toppic, I couldn’t agree with him more!

rollo lawson

February 2nd, 2012
2:58 pm

Losing Gonzalez will be a blessing in disguise. His lose will force Matt Ryan into throwing the ball downfield to his receivers more, especially Douglas and Julio. Watch how they blossom once T.G. is gone.

Row 3

February 2nd, 2012
3:00 pm

Kudos, Gritz Blitz.

FalconJim

February 2nd, 2012
3:06 pm

I think acquiring another TE should be somewhat of a priority…..but only after O-line, D-line and secondary get fixed.

I mean, we’re way behind in getting Tony G.’s replacement, and we should have already had them in place for him to “tutor”, before he retires. I like Fleener, A LOT, too. Bring him home TD!!!

Harry

February 2nd, 2012
3:06 pm

Tony Gonzalez should go to another team cause he’s not winning a title with the Falcons.

FalconJim

February 2nd, 2012
3:08 pm

Well said, Gritz!!!!!!!

anonymous

February 2nd, 2012
3:35 pm

Super Bowl?
This team can’t score a single offensive point in a FIRST ROUND playoff game, and you think they can even spell the “S” in Super Bowl?

BWAA HAA HAAA HAA HA HAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

Falcons fans are the MOST delusional people!

(UGA a close second).

Dr. Warren

February 2nd, 2012
3:45 pm

Tony looks a bit too comfortable with that Hulu girl. Temptation like that is probably why his wife wants to get him out of the NFL as soon as possible.

ASHCAN!!!!!!

February 2nd, 2012
3:51 pm

OH well,gonzalez retiring after next season assure him to be superbowless.

Matt "CHOKE" Ryan

February 2nd, 2012
3:55 pm

So the Ravens are giving Flacco a new contract but not CHOKE.

Wow shocker

HA HA HA :)