NFL Rumors: Tony Gonzalez Must Return to the Falcons in 2013

Jesse Reed@@JesseReed78Correspondent IFebruary 20, 2013

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 20:  Tight end Tony Gonzalez #88 of the Atlanta Falcons celebrates after catching a 10-yard touchdown in the second quarter against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game at the Georgia Dome on January 20, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

There's no way Tony Gonzalez can be happy about the way last year ended for him and the Atlanta Falcons, and he'd be crazy not to come back for one more season in 2013.

Especially when Atlanta is reportedly clamoring for his return.

ESPN's Ed Werder reported on Tuesday:

The Atlanta Falcons will engage quarterback Matt Ryan in negotiations to extend his contract this offseason, but sources said Tuesday that persuading tight end Tony Gonzalez to return has become a higher priority at the moment.

If that doesn't tell you how highly Thomas Dimitroff and the Falcons top brass respect Gonzalez's presence on the field and in the locker room, then nothing will. 

Furthermore, via Werder:

Atlanta is primed for another run at the Lombardi Trophy. 

The team fell just short of the ultimate goal last year when the San Francisco 49ers came back in dramatic fashion in the fourth quarter to win by four points. 

The circumstances couldn't be better for Gonzo to come back and take one more crack at the only thing that has eluded him in his Hall of Fame career: He's never won a championship.

Gonzalez is the GOAT (greatest of all time) at his position.

Here are a few of his career highlights:

  • He has the second-most receptions of any receiver in NFL history (1,242) behind Jerry Rice.
  • He ranks No. 7 all time in receiving yards (14,268). As a comparison, the next-best tight end is Shannon Sharpe, who ranks No. 39 (10,060).
  • He ranks No. 6 all time in receiving touchdowns (103). As a comparison, the next-best tight end is Antonio Gates, who ranks No. 20 (83).
  • He is a 13-time Pro Bowler and six-time First-Team All-Pro

There has never been a tight end who has left as indelible a mark on the NFL as he has, and it would be a shame for him to leave on such a sour note. 

It's not like Gonzalez was fading into the sunset, either. 

At the age of 36 and in his 16th season in the NFL, Gonzalez caught 93 passes for 930 yards and eight touchdowns for the Falcons last year.

Furthermore, it was clear from his exit interview in the locker room after Atlanta had its heart ripped out by the 49ers that Gonzalez desperately wanted to finish just like Ray Lewis did this past season, on top of the world. 

The Falcons know how much having Gonzo back in the lineup will mean in 2013, and there's no reason why he shouldn't lace up the cleats for one final run at glory.


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