All year long, Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez stood firm on his 95 percent retirement pledge.
But those closest to him see the door cracked, and they’re trying to get their foot in.
“I’m hoping for the 5 percent,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said, according to Michael Cunningham of 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].”
Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon must be one of those guys who only bets longshots at the track, because he sounded confident. The Falcons did get Gonzalez to his first playoff win in 16 seasons, but fell short in the NFC Championship Game, which they’re hoping sparks his competitive juices.
“I think he’s coming back,” Weatherspoon said. “I think if we had a bad year, he wouldn’t come back. But we had a great year, so I think we are right there.”
Gonzalez was chosen to the Pro Bowl but said he probably won’t play because he wants his final game to be “for a team I love and respect.”
Those who love and respect him the most in Atlanta are hoping that game isn’t for some time.