Posted March 12, 2013

Tony Gonzalez returning to Atlanta Falcons for one more season

Atlanta Falcons, NFL Free Agency
Tony Gonzalez had made a staggering 1,242 receptions during his career. (David Stluka/AP)

Tony Gonzalez has made a staggering 1,242 receptions during his career. (David Stluka/AP)

Tony Gonzalez’s retirement probability never quite reached 100 percent, and now the future Hall of Fame tight end reportedly has decided to come back for one more year in Atlanta.

FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer reported Tuesday that Gonzalez has informed the Falcons he will return for 2013, and that the two sides are working toward a contract — Gonzalez technically could have become an unrestricted free agent. Earlier, USA Today reported that Gonzalez gave his agent, Tom Condon, the go-ahead to hammer out a deal with the Falcons.

Gonzalez took to Twitter shortly after the news broke.

 

It almost goes without saying that this is huge news for Atlanta. Even as he contemplated retirement during the 2012 season, Gonzalez led the Falcons with 93 receptions (he finished behind only Jason Witten’s 110 catches among tight ends). He scored eight touchdowns during the regular season, then found the end zone in each of Atlanta’s two playoff games.

The first of those two postseason outings also marked Gonzalez’s only career playoff win — a dramatic 30-28 triumph over the Seahawks. Atlanta was bounced the next week in the NFC title game by San Francisco, one win shy of the Super Bowl.

Had the Falcons captured the Vince Lombardi Trophy (and, possibly, if they had made it to the Super Bowl), Gonzalez’s decision likely would have differed. Atlanta backup tight end Michael Palmer said following that win over Seattle that Gonzalez was “97 percent sure” he would hang ‘em up, an increase over the 95 percent Gonzalez had offered previously.

Palmer, a restricted free agent, may have been asked to pick up some of the slack had Gonzalez retired; the Falcons almost certainly would have looked into free-agent candidates, too, like Tennessee’s Jared Cook. Even with Gonzalez back, the Falcons might use a draft pick at the TE position — barring another drastic change of heart, Gonzalez figures to actually retire following the 2013 season.

For one more season, though, Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan will enjoy his full complement of receiving targets, with Gonzalez again joining Julio Jones and Roddy White to form one of the league’s most feared pass-catching units.

Now, can the Falcons send Gonzalez out a winner?

12 comments
M as in Mancy
M as in Mancy

I'm not sure why these guys say they will retire during the ups and downs of a season. Of course when he thinks it over about his dominance and how agonizingly close they were to a Superbowl berth he'll come back. Was there really any doubt?

BrownTrout
BrownTrout

Read between the lines....he couldn't get a TV gig.....or the coins were't enough from ESPN, whatever.  Money talks.

DannyDoyle
DannyDoyle

Haters are gonna hate no matter what! Tony Gonzalez coming back is a sure fire bet that Atlanta will once again be a threat in the NFC. Don't worry about Atlanta's defense as Mike Nolan will be implementing a 3-4 hybrid defense, and this year's draft is stock full of players at the LB, DT, and DE positions that will adequately supplement the gaps Atlanta had in defense this past season. These Birds will be flying high again in 2013!!

rukiddingme
rukiddingme

Tony Gonzalez is a class act.  He is a real professional that conducts himself appropriately, both on the field and off.  This is indeed good news for Atlanta but I still don't think they're going to go all the way this year.  The offense is probably capable enough but the defense is going to hold them back.  Every game is probably going to be a shootout and sooner or later, it catches up to you.  New Orleans will be back in the hunt, not to mention SF and Seattle.  It will be an uphill climb but then again, who predicted they would have had such a good year last year?  Stranger things have happened.  And just for the record, I am a lifelong Cowboys fan so Jason Witten is the best TE in football but Gonzalez is in the top five, even after all of these years. 

exiledinga
exiledinga

Great TE, maybe best ever. Sorry, TG, the only ring around Atlanta in 2013 will continue to be I 285.

Huffy1680
Huffy1680

No last year was there shot, tell me how that D is going to be any better with what they lost? 

LuisDaniel
LuisDaniel

you mean he did not force teammates to go to his home and beg him to come back? Weird guy, this Gonzalez

BryanCustard
BryanCustard

 @DannyDoyle Love the haters on here, don't worry about us, we are straight here in Atlanta, right back in the contender seat

RiseUp
RiseUp

 @rukiddingme Great joke btw Tony Gonz has 2 times as many td's and catchs and receiving yards as whitten Tony Gonz is the ONLY TE in NFL HISTORY to be in the over all top 10 in catchs yards and td's for all receivers not just TE's he's beating out receivers in td's catchs and yards over his career he'll finish in the top 5 all time for receivers in td's yards and catch's whitten wont even break the top 20

rukiddingme
rukiddingme

 @RiseUp@DannyDoyle Gonzalez has been in the league longer than Witten, which is why he has more yards and TD's.  Project Witten's production to date over the course of his entire career and then get back to me.  Don't mess with a Cowboys (NFC East) fan.

DannyDoyle
DannyDoyle

 @RiseUp  @rukiddingme Dude, don't argue with a Cowboys fan. They are still mad that Tony Blowmo can't get them in the playoffs and although Witten is a damn good TE, he's no Tony G. Don't waste your time with NFC East fans.