For many tight ends, 50 catches is a good season.
For Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez, it’s a baseline.
With four receptions Sunday night against the Cowboys, Gonzalez will have caught 50 for the 15th straight season. He has caught at least 70 passes for nine straight seasons, and for his career, he has 1,195 catches for 13,797 yards and 99 touchdowns.
And through it all, he remains willing to spread the praise around, saying Matt Ryan is playing his best football now, and receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones for getting him single coverage.
“I’ve always felt if I have a one-on-one matchup I should be able to win the majority of times,” Gonzalez said, via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “I’m not going to win them all. But for the most part I am going to win them.”
Gonzalez also held firm that he’s probably retiring at the end of the season, but he refused to say for certain.
“Well, this is probably my last year,” Gonzalez said. “The way I am looking for it I am preparing for this to be my last year. I am not going to go all the way. I keep telling everybody the number I’m giving on it is 95 percent sure.
“There is no doubt I could keep playing for a couple more years at a pretty high level but it’s just almost that time for me. I see the window closing and hopefully it makes the choice easy if we go out and win a Super Bowl this year and I can ride off into the sunset.”
He also praised Ryan by putting him in stark contrast to some of the other quarterbacks he had to play with as a Chief.
“Yeah. It was tough. I ain’t going to lie to you,” he said. “It was frustrating at times because you look around the league and see other tight ends doing some big things with these great quarterbacks. That’s one thing always mess with Shannon Sharpe about because he tells me he’s the best tight end to ever play the game. In hindsight, you had John Elway your whole career though. It’s definitely a luxury I wish I would have had.
“Nothing against the guys there. I played with some good guys, too, with Trent Green for four or five years. But if I had a guy like Matt for my whole career, shoot, the numbers I would have been able to put up they would have probably been even more.”
Of course, his time with the Chiefs left him with something else in common with Ryan, something they both hope to change this winter: No playoff wins. Change that, and his personal history could change.