Say It Ain't So! Farewell Tony Gonzalez

alton rexCorrespondent IApril 23, 2009

KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 02:  Tony Gonzalez #88 of the Kansas City Chiefs looks on against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during their NFL game on November 2, 2008 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  The Buccaneers won 30 to 27 in overtime. (Photo by: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

It's a hard day in Kansas City, both for the Chiefs and the fans.

Tony Gonzalez—our unrelenting Tiger, our 'old reliable'—is leaving to play for the Atlanta Falcons.

I'm going to miss him.

It feels like somebody died in my family. I never met Tony G, but he's been as much a presence in our lives the past 13 years as almost anyone I know.

He is the consummate professional athlete. He conducts his business—every aspect of his business—with an eye to how it reflects on the team and the city it represents.

After 13 years in the league, you won't find a harsh word or a bad review of Gonzalez anywhere.

Even his recent expressions of desiring a trade were done as respectfully as possible. No demands, no angry exhortations in the media, just a huge desire to win and the frustration of not being a part of a championship here in Kansas City.

Gonzalez's departure is not about him wanting to leave. It's about him wanting a chance in an all-too-short NFL career to play for a championship.

Whether we like it or not, KC owes him that chance. If we have to let him go someplace else to have that chance, we should be graceful about it.

Some of the comments I've seen around the Internet referring to him as a whiner and such are way out of line.

Gonzo gave us his best on every play for the best years of his life. I truly hate to see him go, but I can promise you this: I'm an Atlanta Falcons fan as long as he wears their black and red.

I will take a great deal of pride in Gonzalez if they can carry him to the championship he pursued with such ardor in KC for the last 13 years.

As to the value of the trade? Clearly Atlanta got the better of this deal.

I'm not sure Kansas City could have gotten more than they did for Gonzalez, but this trade is more about paying him proper respect than it is about matching value.

It was about doing the right thing. And the Chiefs always try to do the right thing.

If nothing else, we can depend on the Hunt family to be fair, to work hard, and to set an example for our kids.

Be sure the kids in your life who are fans understand the Chiefs did this for the right reasons.

Be sure they remember Tony Gonzalez for the great human being and terrific NFL player he is.