Tony Gonzalez is on the verge of yet another NFL milestone as he and the Falcons prepare for a big matchup with the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night. Gonzalez is currently one touchdown catch away from 100 in his career, something no tight end before him has ever done and only seven other receivers have ever accomplished.
Only Jerry Rice (197), Randy Moss (155), Terrell Owens (153), Chris Carter (130), Marvin Harrison (128), Steve Largent (100) and Time Brown (100) have recorded 100 or more touchdowns in their career and Gonzalez is set to join them, likely on Sunday night.
But if you’re expecting Gonzalez to do some damage to that list and move way up on it, don’t. The tight end says he’s 95 percent sure he’s retiring after this season, one that he hopes brings him something he hasn’t been able to achieve his entire NFL career despite putting up insane numbers and likely earning a spot in Canton: a Super Bowl ring.
“Well, this is probably my last year,” Gonzalez said. “The way I am looking for it I am preparing for this to be my last year. I am not going to go all the way. I keep telling everybody the number I’m giving on it is 95 percent sure.”
He’s been around since 1997, when the Kansas City Chiefs took him 13th overall in the draft, but even with all that mileage, Gonzalez still believes if he really wanted to, he could keep going.
“There is no doubt I could keep playing for a couple more years at a pretty high level but it’s just almost that time for me,” he said. “I see the window closing and hopefully it makes the choice easy if we go out and win a Super Bowl this year and I can ride off into the sunset.”
The Falcons are currently in the middle of their best season ever as a franchise, and Gonzalez isn’t the only one hoping for that Super Bowl. Matt Ryan and the Falcons have put up great numbers over the past few years, but even with the explosive offense and the high playoff seeds, none of that has given Gonzalez, or Ryan for that matter, the first step towards winning a title: winning a playoff game.
Since 1997 Gonzalez has never been on a team that has won a playoff game, which has to be extra frustrating given the sheer talent of the Falcons teams that have been bounced from the postseason in recent years.
But this year they looked primed to break that ugly streak, and there would be no better way for the greatest NFL tight end ever to end his career other than hoisting that elusive Super Bowl trophy.