After spending 12 years in Kansas City, Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez didn’t want to offend his old friends.
But after catching a touchdown Sunday, he let Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan talk him into a reprise of his old celebration.
“Honestly, I wasn’t going to dunk it,” Gonzalez said, via Randy Covitz of the Kansas City Star. “The ball went flying out of there, and Matt comes up to me and puts it my chest, and said, ‘Go dunk that ball!’ So I went up there and dunked it.”
The veteran tight end had punctuated most of his first 95 career touchdowns that way, a nod to his background as a basketball player. But this was the first time he did it in KC in a non-Chiefs uniform, and that changed the way the locals viewed him after an initial warm greeting.
“I heard the boos,” Gonzalez said. “But I want all the fans to know, it wasn’t a disrespectful thing, it was just something, . . . that’s me, this is where I made my bones coming up in this league, and definitely I wanted to be true to myself and go up there and dunk it.”
For his part, Ryan didn’t mind calling the shot.
“It was a great moment, not only for him personally, but for Kansas City fans, too,” Ryan said. “He is such a great part of this organization, probably the greatest tight end to have ever played the game. I think deep down in their hearts, Kansas City fans probably loved seeing that one more time, and it was just fun to be a part of it.”
Fun when you score 40, maybe. When your team’s getting manhandled, maybe not so much.