This postseason, it seems the biggest story has been the impending retirement of Ray Lewis once it ends for the Ravens, which just so happens to be after Super Bowl XLVII.
But people have seemingly forgot about a player, one of the greatest players of all time, hanging up the pads after the Atlanta Falcons lost to San Francisco on Sunday afternoon.
Tony Gonzalez, the greatest tight end in the history of the NFL, said that he is 95% retired after his team’s 28-24 loss in the NFC Championship game. He previously stated, at the beginning of the season, that the 2012 season was going to be his last year in the NFL.
Sure it was mentioned when he first said it, but not a peep has really been uttered about it since. However, the second Lewis announced that the 2013 playoff was going to be his “last ride”, he became the talk of the sports world.
Everyone, everywhere was reflecting on the career of “one of the greatest linebackers to ever play.” Constant highlight packages and sound clips were played of Lewis’ greatest moment. People marveled in the greatness of the man who, at one time, was one of the biggest villains in the NFL due to his alleged involvement in a January 2000 murder in Atlanta.
And while all this was going on, as usual, not a single mention of Gonzalez was uttered.
Gonzalez was the consummate professional throughout his career. He has never been in trouble with his team or the law. He has never complained about contracts or playing situations. He just went out, did his job, and did it the best possible.
Hell, Gonzalez is not only a first-ballot Hall of Famer, he’s a bonafide life saver.
Gonzalez never wanted or grabbed the attention of the media. He just did what he had to do to help his team win. Sure, he may have only won one playoff game in his 16-year career, but look at some of the teams he played on. Some were down-right brutal, yet he still didn’t complain about it.
Gonzalez never had to put on a show for the media to get attention. He didn’t care where the cameras were because none of that mattered to him. He went out, did his job, went to the locker room, and began preparing for the next game.
Now, it’s the day after his playing career came to an apparent end – won’t say definitive end due to people having the right to change their mind – and hardly any of the focus is on him leaving the game.
Gonzalez ends with the most games played (254), most receptions (1,242), most receiving yards (14,268), and touchdowns (103) in NFL history for a tight end.
Still, no one seems to notice.
Maybe that’s the way he wants it, but as fans and followers of the National Football League we at least owe it to him to talk about not only the greatest tight end in the history of the game, but one of the greatest players of all time.