When the Atlanta Falcons acquired prolific tight end Tony Gonzalez during the offseason, the immediate assumption around the league was that they planned to heavily feature the 10-time Pro Bowl selection in the passing game.
However, Atlanta offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey made it clear during an interview with the team’s official Web site that Gonzalez is also going to be utilized quite a bit as a blocking presence in the Falcons’ run-oriented offense.
“Tony will help our offense in a number of ways,” Mularkey said. ”One thing he’s going to do is that he’s a productive blocker and that’s important in our offense. . . . As successful as he’s been as a receiver, he’s a good blocker too and he really doesn’t get the credit that he should.”
Gonzalez holds the NFL’s tight end records with 916 career catches, 10,940 receiving yards and 76 touchdown catches.
And he’s one season removed from another ultra-productive season where he hauled in 93 receptions for 1,058 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Glad to be out of Kansas City and now playing for a team that reached the playoffs last season, Gonzalez doesn’t seem to mind that his personal statistics might decline in Atlanta.
At this stage of his career, Gonzalez will bypass the glittery numbers for a chance to contend. Gonzalez has never won a playoff game, so he’s willing to make a sacrifice.
“Do I think I’ll catch 100 balls? I don’t have to,” Gonzalez said. “This is something we’re all going to work together on. I’ve been fortunate to have such a good career.
“It’s not about breaking records and all that stuff. It’s about going out there and moving those chains.”