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Falcons release Tony Gonzalez, who's bound for TV and Canton

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons
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Dec 29, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez (88) on the bench in the fourth quarter of the game against the Carolina Panthers during the second half at the Georgia Dome. The Panthers defeated the Falcons 21-20. (Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports)

Well, this was a little awkward. Even though former Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez has gone through retirement ceremonies (twice) and accepted a job as a commentator on CBS Sports this fall, he apparently hadn't officially filed his retirement paperwork. As a result, Atlanta had to release him, and now has no claim on him should he decide to un-retire.

This seems like a formality, but there's more to it than that. Had the Falcons carried a not-officially-retired Gonzalez into the 2014 league year, he would have counted $8.75 million against the Falcons' cap, which is an awful lot to pay for a guy wearing a tie in a different city. Not only that, he was due a $3 million bonus this month had he remained on the roster.

“This was a decision we had to make with the start of the new league year as we begin retooling our roster for 2014," Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said in a press release. "On behalf of the entire Falcons organization, we wish Tony all the best in his television career and thank him for everything he did for this franchise.”

Gonzalez can go ahead and begin preparing his Hall of Fame speech whenever he likes. He's a surer bet than the sunrise, holding almost every major NFL record for a tight end. He's one of only five players to top 15,000 receiving yards.

He's also now a free agent, so make your best offer, NFL teams.

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Jay Busbee is a contributor for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter.

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