Say it ain’t so, Tony.
The Atlanta Falcons are hopeful that future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez will have a change of heart and will return for a 17th NFL season in 2013.
Gonazlez said after the Falcons lost on Sunday in the NFC Championship Game that he was likely done playing. The 13-time Pro Bowl selection left open a small window – 5 percent – that he comes back but said he doesn’t want to chase a Super Bowl.
Gonzalez ranks as the all-time leader for receiving statistics at his position. He has said he believes he can perform at a high level for another two or three seasons if he desires.
“I’m hoping for the 5 percent,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Tony handled this very well all season long. I don’t think he’s deviated from that.
“Tony and I will have a conversation over the next couple of weeks. This is a tough day, and the next couple of days are tough with the finality. I don’t think we really need to be discussing anything like that (yet).”
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune