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 :)

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.