Tony Gonzalez Announces Intention to Return to Atlanta Falcons Next Season
Tony Gonzalez told me he has officially informed Falcons he is coming back and they are working out a deal now. story on foxsports dot com— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) March 12, 2013
UPDATE: Friday, Mar. 15 at 1:00 p.m. ET by Matt Fitzgerald
D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that an agreement between the Falcons and Gonzalez has been reached.
Tony Gonzalez contract was 2-years, $14 million with $7 million guaranteed. Cap number for 2013 = $5.25 million— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@AJCFalcons) March 15, 2013
Not only has Gonzalez committed to return in 2013, but it also appears he will play the following season in light of this new contract.
---End of update---
Per Glazer, Gonzalez shared some insight regarding his decision to return to the NFL:
After discussing it with my family and really, truly struggling with this decision, I informed the Falcons that I would like to return for one more shot. Considering how this season ended, I wanted to give it another run with Matt (Ryan), Smitty (head coach Mike Smith) and the guys we have in there. It was the first time I had won a playoff game and hopefully coming back once more we can take it one step further.
USA Today added further details to the story, indicating that Gonzalez had given his agent permission to discuss a new deal with Atlanta.
Gonzalez had hinted at the 2012 campaign being his final season, but he has apparently decided he wants another shot at winning that elusive Super Bowl ring.
The 13-time Pro-Bowl tight end took to Twitter to share the news himself:
I'm happy to say that after speaking with my family, I'm coming back.— Tony Gonzalez (@TonyGonzalez88) March 12, 2013
The lure of being on such a great team and organization, along with unbelievable fan support was too good to pass up.— Tony Gonzalez (@TonyGonzalez88) March 12, 2013
After receiving support from the fans, Gonzalez indicated that he is returning to play for a ring (per Glazer):
I have to say also I was pretty overwhelmed by the fans and how much they reached out to me. It was really something. They sent me all these videos, posts on twitter, Facebook, things like that—a bunch of different messages hoping I would return. Really makes you put things in perspective.
I am coming back for one reason and one reason only, the chance to win a Super Bowl.
The Falcons were close to reaching the Super Bowl, but they couldn't defeat the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game.
It was a heartbreaking loss and obviously not the way Gonzalez wanted to end his legendary career. He is one player many fans feel is deserving of a ring, but the ultimate team goal has eluded him thus far.
No matter what happens from here to the end of his career, though, Gonzalez's accomplishments will be the measure by which all pass-catching tight ends are judged.
He has been amazingly durable and productive. The 2012 season was his 16th professional campaign, and he played in all 16 games for the 14th time. He has missed just two games in his entire career.
He may be 37 years old, but if 2012 was any indication of what Gonzalez still has left in the tank, he could play at an elite level for several more years. The veteran led a very talented receiving corps with 93 receptions, and also had eight touchdown receptions.
With 14,268 receiving yards and 103 touchdowns in his career, his resume has all but rewritten the NFL record books for his position. Now, Gonzalez is set to further pad his already gaudy numbers.
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