Green Bay Packers safety Morgan Burnett's trash talk of Tony Gonzalez is the latest mini-controversy in the NFL.
A quick recap: ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky wrote that in the latest issue of ESPN The Magazine, "part of the reason (Gonzalez) decided to retire and not return to the Falcons next season," was that Burnett trash talked him with expletives and none of the Falcons defended him. Burnett denied doing that and everyone agreed it would be out of character for Burnett.
We're missing the bigger picture here.
"(P)art of the reason he decided to retire and not return to the Falcons next season ... "
Whoa, what? That Packers-Falcons game was on Dec. 8, by the way. So even though Gonzalez said over and over and over he was at peace with his decision to retire, he needed to be swayed by (allegedly) an opponent berating him on the field in the last month of the season and none of his teammates backing him up? Hmmmm.
And then there was this. In a Pro Football Talk post detailing Gonzalez deciding if Matt Ryan is elite or just excellent (please, make it stop) on ESPN's "NFL Live," PFT added that Gonzalez left the door open for a return late in the season "if the Falcons are 9-2 in November." Presumably, that goes for any team that is 9-2 in November.
Gonzalez is unquestionably the best tight end ever. His numbers are more in line with the greatest wide receivers in NFL history than the best tight ends. Last year he had 83 catches, 859 yards and eight touchdowns at age 37. He's in remarkable shape and there's no question he could keep playing if he wanted to.
It wasn't until mid-February last year that it became apparent Gonzalez was wavering on retirement. And nobody would blame Gonzalez for changing his mind and playing in 2014. It's hard to walk away from the NFL when you have a lot left to give, no matter your age. And Gonzalez does. Hopefully he does come back. Gonzalez is an all-time great and still one of the best tight ends in the game. He's fun to watch.
But take a look at these two examples – the supposed trash talking on Dec. 8 helping his decision and already dropping hints about playing for a contender – and you tell me if it sounds like Gonzalez is really at peace with deciding to retire.
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