Falcons' Tony Gonzalez Says He'll 'Probably' Retire Following Loss vs. 49ers

Austin GreenCorrespondent IJanuary 20, 2013

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 20:  Tony Gonzalez #88 of the Atlanta Falcons walks off of the field dejected after the Falcons lost 28-24 against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game at the Georgia Dome on January 20, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Tony Gonzalez said he will likely retire following the Atlanta Falcons' 28-24 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game Sunday, according to Jay Adams of AtlantaFalcons.com.

Said Gonzalez:

It’s probably the last time I’m going to wear that uniform. I didn’t want to take it off, to tell you the truth. All good things come to an end and, like I said all season long, this is probably my last one. What an unbelievable ride.

If this really was his last game, the legendary tight end went out in style.

He had eight receptions for 78 yards and one touchdown against San Francisco. He proved yet again that he is one of the most reliable receivers in the game, as he caught all eight balls Matt Ryan threw his way.

Even though Atlanta stumbled, the 16-year veteran was excellent throughout the Falcons' playoff run.

In the divisional round, he caught six passes for 51 yards and one touchdown in Atlanta's 30-28 victory over Seattle. His 19-yard reception with 13 seconds left set up Matt Bryant's game-winning field goal.

With the victory, Gonzalez finally won his first career playoff game. It was an emotional moment for the future first-ballot Hall of Famer, as he burst into tears after finally tasting postseason success.

Although he never won a Super Bowl, Gonzalez will retire as one of the greatest players in NFL history. He is a 13-time Pro Bowler and 10-time All-Pro selection, and he holds almost every conceivable league record for tight ends.

He is unquestionably the best tight end the NFL has ever seen. He was unstoppable in his 12 seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, and he hardly slowed down in four years with the Falcons. He also built a reputation as one of the classiest players in the league.

If he really does decide to retire this offseason, Gonzalez will be sorely missed by football fans.