Tony Gonzalez is still 95 percent sure he will retire at the end of the season.
Just do not attempt to pigeonhole the 13-time Pro Bowl tight end into giving more info about his future – irrespective of how many light years away.
”I see what you are trying to do,” Gonzalez claimed with a smile. ”Jedi mind trick.”
At 36 years old, Gonzalez continues to make enough big plays that he was voted to his 3rd straight Pro Bowl in 4 seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. He moved into 2nd place on the career receptions list last season – and now has 1,237 – and is the most decorated tight end in NFL history, ranking 1st at the position and 6th overall with 103 touchdown catches. At 14,227 yards, he’s 7th on the career receiving list.
Gonzalez’s physique, work ethic and preparation have factored into helping him prosper for 16 seasons, the first 12 of which he spent with Kansas City.
Though this week’s Pro Bowl announcement barely caught him by surprise, Gonzalez indicated that this bid felt special.
”The older you get, the more people start to doubt you,” he revealed, ”just because it’s mankind’s nature. You are getting old, (and) there’s no way you can move around like you used to. I’ve been hearing, ‘Oh, he’s lost a step. He’s not as fast as he used to be.’ It’s good to go out there and play well and tell them, ‘What do you got to say now?’ That’s part of the fun – proving people wrong.”
To Falcons coach Mike Smith, Gonzalez still appears strong and healthy enough to play another 2 or 3 seasons and add to his Pro Bowl total.
”He’s beating Father Time,” Smith claimed. ”He’s shutting him out. He’s playing at an especially high level right now.”
As it’s been since the Chiefs drafted him 13th overall in 1997, opponents struggle to defend the 6-foot-5, 247-pound Southern California native in man-to-man coverage because linebackers sometimes lack the speed and defensive backs lack the size to disrupt his routes. Basketball odds
For all of Gonzalez’s impressive career numbers, his ability to avoid fumbles has taken on a legend of its own. He hasn’t fumbled since Week 16 of 2006, and the last time he lost a fumble was in Week 5 of 1999 – a span of 217 games in a row and 1,126 receptions.
”It probably will get noted for Hall-Of-Fame stuff when they start talking about Tony being inducted,” Smith related. ”His stats are unimaginable. Touchdown catches, number of catches, what he does after he catches the ball. He’s done a great job, and I believe a lot of it really is the work he does out on the practice field.”
Gonzalez is just pleased that he’s reached Week 17 for what could possibly be the last regular season game of his career.
Winning a Super Bowl is all that matters, particularly for a respected vet still attempting to find his 1st career playoff victory.
Just don’t ask him about coming back next season.
”Let’s finish this year,” he said, ”and hopefully get that Super Bowl ring.”