The Atlanta Falcons blew a 17-point lead Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, ending their season and likely the career of tight end Tony Gonzalez.
Shortly after his team fell short of a trip to the Super Bowl, Gonzalez once again said he plans to call it quits.
“That’s probably going to be the last time I wear that uniform, or football pads, and cleats,” Gonzalez told reporters. “I didn’t want to take it off, tell you the truth. All good things come to an end. Like I said all season, this is probably my last one. But what an unbelievable ride.”
If you’ll notice, Gonzalez used the word “probably” twice, which is consistent with what he’s done all season and that’s leave the door slightly open for one more year in the NFL.
There’s obviously something to be said for going out on your own terms, but Gonzalez can still play at a high level. Sunday afternoon the tight end caught eight passes for 78 yards and a touchdown, the final points the Falcons would put on the board.
Until he makes it official, I have to believe Gonzalez will come back for one more season. The Falcons will open next year as one of the favorites to reach the Super Bowl and with emerging star Julio Jones due to draw constant double teams, Gonzalez will be able to have his way with linebackers one-on-one.
Ever since he was traded by the Chiefs, I’ve always hoped he might wrap up his career in Kansas City. It’s always possible Andy Reid could make some magic happen, but the more likely way Gonzalez retires as a Chief is on a one-day contract the day he files retirement papers.