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Tony Gonzalez confirms return to Atlanta

Maggie Hendricks
Shutdown Corner

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A wave of hello or goodbye? (Getty)

Remember the tearful, emotional end to Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez's career? How after the Falcons lost to the San Francisco 49ers, he didn't want to take his uniform off? It turns out he will be in uniform again. Yahoo! Sports first reported that Gonzalez was leaning towards coming back to the game. Now, the 13-time Pro Bowler has confirmed his decision to return to Fox Sports.

"After discussing it with my family and really, truly struggling with this decision, I informed the Falcons that I would like to return for one more shot," Gonzalez told FOX Sports after meeting with doctors in order to get medical clearance. "Considering how this season ended, I wanted to give it another run with Matt (Ryan), Smitty (head coach Mike Smith) and the guys we have in there. It was the first time I had won a playoff game and hopefully coming back once more we can take it one step further."

Now, the Falcons are working with Gonzalez on a deal for his return. He says his motivation is one thing only — the Super Bowl.

[Also: Redskins, Raiders dominate list of worst NFL signings in recent history]

But the Falcons Gonzalez is returning to is not the same team he left just months ago. Last week, they cut veterans Michael Turner, John Abraham and Dunta Robinson in a move to save salary cap room. With the $21 million they saved, they can give Gonzalez the right deal for a tight end of his caliber. At the combine, Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff talked about the trouble with replacing Gonzalez.

"Tony's an anomaly," Dimitroff said. "You see him walk out on to the field as a 36-year-old, and he looks like he's 25. He's in great shape, he takes care of himself, and he moves around the way I think he's always moved around. Everyone loses a step or a quarter of a step, but Tony can still produce at a very high level, and those guys don't come around every day."

Now, Dimitroff won't have to worry about replacing Gonzalez.

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