Tony Gonzalez had announced prior to the Atlanta Falcons’ 2012 season that the year was going to be his last. However, after finally winning a playoff game for the first time in his illustrious, 15-year career, the 37-year old has decided to make one last run at the Lombardi Trophy.
”After discussing it with my family and really, truly struggling with this decision I informed the Falcons I would like to return for one more shot,” Gonzalez told Fox NFL Insider Jay Glazer. ”Considering how this season ended, I wanted to give it another run with Matt (Ryan), Smitty (head coach Mike Smith) and the guys we have in there. It was the first time I had won a playoff game and hopefully coming back once more we can take it one step further.”
Recently, we reported that Gonzalez was considering a return, but only if the situation was ideal. He was going to need a new contract, and he was hoping to see an improved defense in order to make another run at a ring.
“I was done, I thought I had my mind made up,” said Gonzalez. “This whole year I knew it would be my last but the way our final game ended and talking to all the guys in the locker room, in the end it was too difficult of a way for me to step away from the game. It’s not often in a career you’re around a group like we have down in Atlanta.”
“The Falcons were great about that fact and how important my commitments are as a dad,” said Gonzalez. “Smitty has always been great with working with us when it comes to family. There are things I promised Nikko that the team is going work with me on so I can keep my promise to my son. That was a huge thing for me and they couldn’t have been more understanding. They really are a family organization. Not sure what the dates are yet but at least I know I can be there for things I promised my son I would be there for.”
The 2012 season was one of Gonzalez’ most productive ever. The surefire future Hall of Fame tight end hauled in 93 receptions, scored eight times and twice more in the playoffs. The 13-time Pro Bowler sits at second on the all-time career receptions list with 1,242, behind only Jerry Rice.
But he does not care about the numbers. He does not care about the touchdowns, or the catches, or the all-expense-paid trips to Hawaii.
The aging legend just wants one thing.
“I have to say also I was pretty overwhelmed by the fans and how much they reached out to me. It was really something. They sent me all these videos, posts on twitter, Facebook, things like that — a bunch of different messages hoping I would return. Really makes you put things in perspective.
“I am coming back for one reason and one reason only, the chance to win a Super Bowl.”
His decision to return gives him that chance. Now it is up to the hard work of him and his teammates to make that dream a reality.