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NFL Atlanta Falcons

Tony Gonzalez: Should He Stay or Should He Go?

Josh D. Weiss-USA TODAY Sports

The question isn’t reserved just for a paraphrase of the classic Clash song anymore. It’s earmarked for one Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez.

Gonzalez’s 16-year career is one of, if not the, most heralded in the NFL. The records speak for themselves. If he were to actually retire now, he’d be going out at the top of his game–no easy task for any NFL player, certainly.

There is, however, one thing missing from the top of that heap. One thing that’s been at the back of his mind for the duration of that sixteen-year career. The elusive factor that would bring all the numbers together with its own validation.

The Super Bowl win.

The championship.

The ring.

Stepping away now means he will never get it. Regardless of how he plans to spend his time away from football, the ‘what-if’ would reverberate as the never-silenced question. Whether merely asking himself on the inside or hearing the inquiry from even the casual fans he’ll encounter, that ‘what-if’ won’t go away. Why come within reaching distance of the summit of the highest mountain only to turn around and walk away? All the blood, sweat, tears, effort–and then to say “No, thanks, I think I’ll just stop here. After all, I can see it from here”?

Absolutely not. Merely seeing what might have been can’t be a satisfying end. Gonzalez has not played his final game.

His own expectation that he’ll retire will soon go from 95 percent to 97 percent to zero percent. Expect his fans to 100 percent agree.