There is no doubt that the Atlanta Falcons would be worse off if they are not able to get Tony Gonzalez to return for another season. The future Hall Of Fame tight end was an extremely productive weapon for the Falcons scoring 8 touchdowns, his highest total in the last four seasons. His total catches and yardage were all up as well, so again, there is no doubt that Atlanta would be worse off without him.
Of course, this is nothing that the Falcons do not already know, which is why coach Mike Smith reiterated today the fact that there was no timetable being placed on Gonzalez concerning a decision.
“I don’t think that there is anything concrete in terms of a timetable” Smith said. “But, I think that conversation will take place.”
The talk throughout the 2012 season was that it would be the last of Gonzalez’ decorated career, but after falling just short in the NFC Championship game to the San Francisco 49ers, Gonzalez may have second thoughts as training camp rolls around.
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen called it a “Brett Favre strategy” where they will sit back and give him space, while continuing to let him know that they feel like he would be a valuable assent when the 2013 season began.
Whether such a strategy is even needed to get Gonzalez to come back is up for debate. Gonzalez made it the furthest into a season in 2012 then he had in his entire 14 year career. He may know that he has a special opportunity here with the Atlanta Falcons, and he may decide to come back without any coaxing from the Falcon organization.
If he does, expect him to play at the same high level we are used to seeing him play at. Despite his age and the years on the field, Gonzalez was still better than nearly tight end in the NFL this past year and one off-season is not likely to turn him into a bum.
There will be a time when Gonzalez needs to hang it up. 2013 is not that season.