After suggesting he might call it quits following the Atlanta Falcons early postseason exit, Tony Gonzalez told Jim Rome on Friday that he “definitely” would be returning for at least one more season. His PR rep Denise White confirmed the tight end will be back in Atlana in 2011.
“He’s definitely coming back,” said White, the chief executive officer of Los Angeles-based EAG sports management. “He’s excited to be a Falcon next season and make another run at the Super Bowl.”
Falcons owner Arthur Blank suspected that Gonzalez was leaning toward returning.
“Tony is a first ballot hall of famer,” Blank said on Thursday at the Buckhead Business Association luncheon. “He played 14 years. He’s 34 years old. He has a body of probably somebody who’s 24 years old.”
Any time a player puts as much wear and tear on his body as Gonzalez has over the years, you always have to wonder just how much longer they can play at a high level. However, as we have seen, we aren’t talking about a normal athlete.
Not only does Gonzalez get nearly $6 million in the final year of his contract, but also is presented with one of his best opportunities to make a run at a championship. The same team that was 13-3 this season is coming back, including their 25-year old Pro Bowl QB.
Knowing the kind of competitor he is, there’s no guarantee that next season will be the last for Gonzalez. If he can turn in another big season and falls short of a title, there’s no reason to believe he won’t make one more run and there will be plenty of teams — obviously the Falcons at the head of the line — willing to pay him top dollar for that season.