NFL News: Tony Gonzalez 50-50 on playing beyond 2010

Future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez told Alex Marvez of FOX Sports that there’s a 50-50 chance that he’ll retire after the 2010 season.

“It is year to year,” Gonzalez said after a Monday practice at the Falcons’ headquarters. “I could play another three or four years. I know I could … There’s a lot of different factors. Yeah, I’d probably come back but you never know. I’m going to wait.”

“That’s the only thing driving me right now,” said Gonzalez, who hasn’t even won a playoff game since entering the league in 1997 with the Chiefs. “It’s not numbers. It’s not milestones. It’s not money. It’s not glory. It’s not going out trying to be famous and all that stuff. It’s one thing.

“It’s not a secret. People have known it. It’s the reason I got out of Kansas City (last offseason) and the reason I’m here. I don’t want to just go to the playoffs. I want to win the whole thing. I think we’ve got a good chance here.”

This is exactly in line with what Gonzo told me back in early May. It’s hard to blame him that he’s taking things year to year at this point in his career.

Beyond his talent, longevity and class, one thing I’ve come to appreciate about Gonzalez is his honesty. He has never hidden the fact that he wanted out of KC so that he could have a better chance to win a Super Bowl and I believe him when he says that career milestones, money and glory aren’t motivating him right now. The only reason he’s still playing at his age and after all the physical abuse he has taken throughout the years is because he wants to win a Super Bowl.

Gonzalez is a fitness and nutrition buff, so there’s no question that he could play well into his late 30s. Whether or not he wants to keep playing is another topic of discussion but as of right now, he’ll give it hell with the Falcons this year and then re-assess the situation at the end of the season.

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Falcons’ Gonzalez to play in 2010

The Falcons’ official website confirmed on Wednesday that Tony Gonzalez will be back in 2010, which is obviously good news for Atlanta. Gonzo caught 83 passes for 867 yards and six touchdowns in the Falcons’ run-heavy offense this season, proving that the 34-year-old can still play at an elite level.

Atlanta traded a second round pick in this year’s draft to acquire Gonzalez from Kansas City last offseason. He’s under contract for the next two seasons but I imagine that the veteran is taking things year by year now. The Falcons would love for him to finish out the remainder of his contract in Atlanta, but who knows what his decision will be after next season.

Due to injuries to Michael Turner and Matt Ryan, the Falcons’ offense wasn’t as explosive as many thought it would be entering the season. Turner also got off to a slow start, forcing offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey to rely more on the passing game instead of beating teams with a balanced approach. That was fine until Ryan started to struggle, then inconsistency became a huge problem for Atlanta. The offense also had to deal with injuries to the receiving corps, as Roddy White was hobbled all season (although he never missed a game) and promising youngster Harry Douglas suffered a knee injury in training camp and never played a snap.

Now that Gonzalez is committed to 2010 and assuming Ryan, Turner, White and Douglas can return to full health, things once again look promising for the Falcons’ offense. Now GM Thomas Dimitroff must concentrate on adding more talent to a young defensive squad so Atlanta can challenge for a playoff spot again next season.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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