The just-over-three-week timetable is neither a league nor a team mandate, but if Gonzalez wants to put the Falcons in the best possible situation to succeed—and he’s shown over the years that winning is the only thing that matters to him—he has to give the Falcons enough time to make decisions on how to move forward.
Gonzalez said in July, before the 2012 season started, that he was 95 percent sure he was going to retire at the end of the season. After the Falcons beat the Seattle Seahawks in the divisional round of the playoffs, netting Gonzalez his first-career playoff win, tight end Michael Palmer told USA Today that Gonzalez said he shifted his almost assured retirement status to 97 percent.
Gonzalez was very vocal that he was ready to be a family man and that he wanted to do the “dad thing” more often. He even hinted that he was ready to do some network television work in the future. If the 95 percent status wasn’t strong enough, his upgraded figure and statements prior to the NFC Championship game left little hope Gonzalez would return in 2013.