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

Patrick

February 2nd, 2012
3:55 pm

You know what’s pretty cool? Falcons get to visit Kansas City this upcoming season. First time Tony’s gone back since he was traded to us.

Can you say, welcome back/send-off party?

And Kudos GritzBlitz.

waynester

February 2nd, 2012
4:24 pm

Gonzales could have done a lot worse than coming to the Falcons–staying in KC, for example….

DarthVesper

February 2nd, 2012
4:34 pm

Cheerleader “Sabrina C” Doesn’t look that hot to me. :-)

WTF?

February 2nd, 2012
4:58 pm

I predict he’ll retire mid season when he realizes the Falcons again have no chance with a scared quarterback and weak offensive line and lousy coaches.

tonyb

February 2nd, 2012
5:10 pm

Tight end is a very high priority position for this, or any effective offense. The Falcons will need to address it in FA, or possibly in the 2nd or 3rd round. As we speak, most of the Falcons WR are in the speedy, deep threat mode. They need a big position WR to move the chains in short yardage situations, and down in the red zone.

Saying that, I will believe Tony retiring when I see it. He’s in excellent shape, at or near the top of his game, and in good health. And Tony will find out real fast TV work or endorsing supplements does not pay 7 million a year. I say Tony has a good 2 to 3 years left in the tank.

Yunel Asscobar

February 2nd, 2012
5:23 pm

Jeff – It’s the wrong Gonzalez leaving. Tony needs to stay and we Fredi needs to be the one to go. Atlanta Braves and Falcons both become stronger by simply changing the first names of the soon-departed.

TD has no clue!

February 2nd, 2012
5:29 pm

Should have retired after Falcons lost to the Giants. They can score 2 points without him.

[...] appearing on an ESPN/Facebook chat on Thursday, Gonzo stated his intentions to retire following the 2012 season. But he also noted how he’s made similar claims in the past. “One [...]

Yunel Asscobar

February 2nd, 2012
5:30 pm

I appreciate the fact that T Gonzalez never “tipped his helmet” when the Falcons got beat.

Jack W

February 2nd, 2012
5:51 pm

Play Michael Palmer, great hands, excellent blocker, smart. Not explosive speed, but this kid can play the game!

Double Zero Eight

February 2nd, 2012
6:08 pm

Let’s hope he can at least get one playoff victory.
The Falcons have too many holes to fill on the
defensive side and O line, and don’t have a realistic
chance of contending for a Super Bowl next year.

extremus

February 2nd, 2012
6:11 pm

Strange how certain great players never manage to experience a championship (or in some cases even a playoff victory) in their respective leagues. Tony Gonzalez has definitely won me over the past few seasons with his work ethic and professionalism on the field; he catches (and holds onto) balls thrown in traffic and isn’t afraid to block for runners or take a hit.

The closest thing I can immediately think of to compare with Gonzalez’s predicament (at least from an Atlanta perspective) is Dale Murphy. The guy was a class act and was one of baseball’s elite players for several years (the only bright spot on some awful Braves teams) before injuries began to slow him down. Ironically he was traded to the Phillies like the season before the Braves’ 1991 “Worst to First” season. I remember wishing for him that he could have enjoyed a part in that; he deserved to. At any rate, I hope Gonzalez’s career ends on a much higher note.

Not a Falcon fan

February 2nd, 2012
6:26 pm

Tony G. came to the falCANTS to win a Super Bowl. It will not happen. Should have gone to a team like the Steelers. Wait the Steelers have the best all round tight end in football, Heath Miller. Heath Miller already has 2 rings. Sorry Tony no ring !!!!!!!!!!

Matt "CHOKE" Ryan

February 2nd, 2012
7:30 pm

When is CHOKE getting that new contract like Vick & Flacco :)

Shady Clusters

February 2nd, 2012
7:35 pm

Sunny, why not just bring back Alge Crumpler ?

Arx

February 2nd, 2012
8:51 pm

Dear Atlanta Falcons,
Tony G is a very special guy… one of those you don’t get by trying. He happens upon you like Billy Whiteshoes once did. Given the chance, he can inspire a team and its fan base to great heights. If 2012 is indeed his last year in this league, I suggest respecting him and his talent by letting him have a great last season… let’s get him (and us) that SB ring!
No more puddlepissing along on offense. Give him the ball and let him show what he’s got.
Sincerely,
Arx… fan since ‘68

wisconsinfalcons fan

February 2nd, 2012
8:58 pm

have anyone seen Tony’s wife, she has no problem with those girls she is fine oh yeah hey TG I’m glad you are coming back we need you an you are a hall of famer for sure

For Crying Out Loud

February 2nd, 2012
9:08 pm

What makes any of your think a new tight end will have need of tutoring by Tony G? For crying out loud!

waynester

February 2nd, 2012
9:20 pm

FCOL
ANY college TE coming into the league will need some serious coaching up from somebody. If the rook just picks up on some of TG’s work habits that’d be tutoring enough, right there….

[...] TG did a chat with ESPN.com and was asked about when he might hang ‘em up. [...]

Joshuamalavenda

February 3rd, 2012
3:02 am

Falcon Jim-

I couldnt have said it better. The only problem we have more bigger needs on ol and defense so we will not draft fleener unless we have trade couple of players for draft picks.
check out Kyle Fiedorowicz north central or Chase ford from u of miami as good prospects in undrafted fa

Falcon James

February 3rd, 2012
6:59 am

We be beating this Gonzalez thing to death. This article be the exact same article posted last year. Even the fan be saying the same thing. Glad to see Gonzalez playing next year, but the real news will be if he come back again the following year, not that he plan to retire. Everybody know he plan to retire.

Falcon James

February 3rd, 2012
7:14 am

And one more thing. How did “Sir Drops Alot” make it to the Pro Bowl? Why didn’t we just send Baker, Owens, and Dunta too?

Taxi Smith

February 3rd, 2012
8:13 am

Maybe he can help GT recruit.

willdave

February 3rd, 2012
9:13 am

Again we are discussing several critical needs that the Falcons have and longing for those five quality draft picks for 2011 and 2012 that they so foolishly traded away just to get Julio Jones. In return, absolutely zero points by the Birds’ “high-powered” offense in their latest playoff blowout.

Anyway, let’s see what Michael Palmer can do before we hit the panic button. Give the kid a chance to play. I like what I’ve seen so far.

Yours Truly

February 3rd, 2012
10:35 am

Believe in Michael Palmer.

LKW

February 3rd, 2012
12:25 pm

Get out while you are health and still on top of your game. Find another hobby and enjoy family time.

drmaryb .(*_*).

February 4th, 2012
11:48 pm

Tony Gonzalez is a quitter.

Dirty Burd

February 5th, 2012
10:01 pm

Still pulling for the Dirty Birdz on my twitter.

http://twitter.com/dirtyshirtytees

Nerehere

February 6th, 2012
3:03 pm

Please Tony, make it your last-for real. You really don’t know the history of the team your playing for.

Nerehere

February 6th, 2012
3:03 pm

Please Tony, make it your last-for real. You really don’t know the history of the team your playing for.

Nerehere

February 6th, 2012
3:03 pm

Please Tony, make it your last-for real. You really don’t know the history of the team your playing for.

Nerehere

February 6th, 2012
3:13 pm

The Falcons offense need to aquire young strong TE’s and get them fast. TE’s with basketball skills are the hottest commodity right now in the NFL. That’s what Atlanta needs to do. Get guys 6’6 to 6’8, and the like, 270lbs like Gronkski . Guys like Jimmy Graham 6’7, 265. Add that to the weapon you already have in Julio, Roddy and trade for explosive rb’s and use the Giants offensive organization as a template for success.