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Gonzalez hoped to be traded, later hinted at a return to Atlanta in 2014

Gonzalez Getty Images

Last year, tight end Tony Gonzalez was 95 percent sure he’d retire.  He didn’t.

This year, Gonzalez moved the number to 100 percent.  But he mused during the season about a possible return to the Falcons in 2014 — after hoping that he’d be traded to a contender.

In a lengthy look at Gonzalez’s final (we think) season in Atlanta, Seth Wickersham of ESPN The Magazine writes that Gonzalez at one point told quarterback Matt Ryan that Gonzalez could swoop back in next season, if things are going well.

“Maybe, if the team is hot in November, 9-2 or something, I could come back for the last two months,” Gonzalez said.

Wickersham explains that Gonzalez decided he was definitely done a few days later, after Packers safety Morgan Burnett yelled, “F–k you!  You ain’t sh-t!” to Gonzalez and none of his teammates came to Gonzalez’s defense.

While that exchange apparently cemented Gonzalez’s desire to move on, he almost moved on from the Falcons in October, at the trade deadline.  Gonzalez knew he couldn’t ask for a trade, like he’d done in Kansas City.  But he would have accepted one.  And eventually he wanted one.  Per Wickersham, Gonzalez was hopeful for a deadline deal, with the Seahawks (ouch) and the Chiefs believed to be interested.

As Gonzalez texted friends to find out if any rumors could be coming to fruition, the Falcons were steadfast in their desire to not make a deal.

“Welp,” Gonzalez said to his wife, Tobie, after 4:00 p.m. came and went on October 29 without a trade.  “We’re staying here.”

“Well, sh-t,” Tobie said.

Gonzalez may be uttering that word and others when he reads the entire article, because it peels back an image that had been carefully manicured throughout his length career.

“He bitches to teammates about losing,” Wickersham writes.  “He pouts about the constant double-teams.  He muses about telling everyone to kiss his ass goodbye.”  Gonzalez is quoted as saying he “acted like a pissed-off kid” after not being traded.

“I’m going to show them,” Gonzalez said.  “I’m just going to leave.  They’re never going to see me again.  I’m not going to care about them.”

Gonzalez didn’t leave, but he’s now gone.  If he were decide to return, the Falcons still hold his rights.  If he were to decide to come back in November (after the trading deadline) and if the Falcons were to release his rights then, Gonzalez would be required to pass through waivers — which would allow a non-contender to block his path to a contending team.

While it’s highly unlikely that Gonzalez will return, especially to a team other than the Falcons, the first element in any comeback is a belief that a comeback is possible.

“The hardest thing next year will be watching games knowing that I could play at a Pro Bowl level,” Gonzalez said.

He can say he’s done every day between now and December.  If on only one of those days he decides he isn’t, the man who showed that a five-percent proposition is possible could show that a zero-percent chance can hit, too.

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43 Responses to “Gonzalez hoped to be traded, later hinted at a return to Atlanta in 2014”
  1. thepftpoet says: Feb 6, 2014 7:49 PM

    Vikings.

    Enough said

  2. truthfactory says: Feb 6, 2014 7:51 PM

    Who cares if he wanted to be traded. He came back for this last year thinking they were contenders but they weren’t.

    I wouldnt have blamed him if he wanted to go play for a contender instead of a 2-10 team.

  3. iceshocker says: Feb 6, 2014 7:52 PM

    In 2 articles tony gonzalez went from respected and loved falcon to a player who needs to go ahead and just retire with the chiefs

  4. redandgoldhitman52 says: Feb 6, 2014 7:58 PM

    if you want to get traded then tell management you want to get traded. after a horrible falcons season midway through, im sure the falcons would have traded you for some draft picks if you were open to trade. but you kept saying ” atlanta is where i want to be, i want to finish my career in atlanta. i came out of retirement to play with the falcons , i dont want to be traded”. so the falcons honored your wishes to stay in atlanta. its your fault you didnt get traded.

  5. whinerssuck says: Feb 6, 2014 8:04 PM

    VIKINGS???????? Lmao. He said a winner you moron. 99 % of the people that come to this board are heavily amused by the moronic delusional Vikings post we see as yes….they are flat out horrible. People look to leave that crap town and players hate playing in that crap city. Hint hint to you loser fans!

  6. thekiller678 says: Feb 6, 2014 8:06 PM

    Lmao Morgan Burnett said that to Gonzales? Burnett is a nobody compared to Gonzales

  7. thevikesarebest says: Feb 6, 2014 8:09 PM

    You should join the great vikings and you can retire with multiple SB rings.HINT:never associate with the pathetic franchises known as the shehawks and cheeseheads.SKOL

  8. orivar says: Feb 6, 2014 8:17 PM

    Go back to the Chiefs for one last run. Andy Reid LOVES pass catching Tight Ends. He was using them like that before it was cool. LJ Smith. Doubt many remember that name.

  9. pantherfan550 says: Feb 6, 2014 8:22 PM

    so many people admire him, but I always felt there was that prima donna side to him.

    after the 2010 season, when they beat the panthers at BOA in front of 20,000 empty seats, TG was quoted as saying that is the reason the league shouldn’t add two more regular season games because places like carolina couldn’t even have people show up for 16 games.

    i never forgave him for that comment and after the panthers beat him in ATL in the last game of his career in front of 20,000 panthers fans, it felt like poetic justice

  10. meatcarroll says: Feb 6, 2014 8:29 PM

    See? Everyone wants to join the Seahawks. They know Pete Carroll is the best coach in the NFC and one of the most brilliant football minds in history.

  11. robertb655 says: Feb 6, 2014 8:30 PM

    He hasn’t been at a Pro-Bowl level for some time now. He has no speed and all that’s left is his lentgh. Move on…

  12. hutch119 says: Feb 6, 2014 8:34 PM

    He came back to the Falcons with a grocery list full of demands. They caved to all of them and then when things didn’t go as planned he cried like a spoiled little kid. Weak.

  13. deezenucks says: Feb 6, 2014 8:41 PM

    Enough said and Vikings is the best thing I’ve seen you write, enough already, your team sucks man. I doubt understand you and that steeler homer pumping your teams in every article after the seasons you had…

  14. maestro71 says: Feb 6, 2014 8:44 PM

    If Morgan Burnett could bring himself to apologize I’d love to see him in Green Bay for a year. We could use a productive veteran leader like him. Jermichael can go away.

  15. jmssportsfanatic4ever says: Feb 6, 2014 8:46 PM

    Poor Tony. I am an Atlanta Falcons’ fan as well as my dad. We both were at the last game of the season last year. Now, to hear this, I would definitely be happy if Tony came back one final time to the Falcons. Regardless of whether or not this is true, I know he is already a for sure Hall of Fame player in my heart.

  16. tootitan says: Feb 6, 2014 8:48 PM

    “Welp”?
    Strange name to call your wife Tony! What does it mean?

  17. bgm9876 says: Feb 6, 2014 8:48 PM

    bills..

    hope he comes back and plays for the bills..

  18. phinland says: Feb 6, 2014 9:04 PM

    Tony G is a consummate professional, regardless of how much mud you guys want to sling at him now that his stellar career has ended.

  19. travelingwillies says: Feb 6, 2014 9:09 PM

    He kept saying he wanted to stay in Atlanta before and after the trade deadline and now he is complaing. Weak

  20. pooflingingmonkey says: Feb 6, 2014 9:10 PM

    Tony G is the greatest tight end in NFL history, and takes incredible care of himself. He could play another 3-5 years if he wanted to.

  21. blackngold4life says: Feb 6, 2014 9:19 PM

    Just go away..RINGLESS

  22. kev86 says: Feb 6, 2014 9:22 PM

    Sounds like a selfish crybaby. Granted he’s earned respect but he still sounds annoying to me.

  23. FinFan68 says: Feb 6, 2014 9:31 PM

    Always liked The but I thought his requirements to return to Atlanta made him look like a diva/punk. This confirms it. Great player; probably was great in the community but this year was all about him and he abandoned any concept of team. Shame he tarnished his legacy

  24. jtylert says: Feb 6, 2014 9:33 PM

    If he had gone to the Seahawks, the last hurrah of Gonzo vs Manning would have been off the charts.

    Too bad. I would have loved to see him go out with a ring.

  25. beardinals says: Feb 6, 2014 9:40 PM

    So… Atlanta goes 9-2 with lots of hard work and he jumps on in November for a chance to chase a ring? Seems really empty.

  26. jacobslatter says: Feb 6, 2014 9:40 PM

    It was the hardened arrogance & insolence of GM Thomas Dimitroff which prevented Gonzo from being traded, sure they would have probably only gotten a 5th & 7th for him but spiky hair himself always told the press the predictable garbage like “I feel we have the makings of a competitive football team” & “we are making great strides as a team each and every week” which of course wasn’t true at all. The injuries hit hard but the line talent on both sides of the ball was dismal as there was zero pass rush and Matty Vanilla Ice was runnin’ fer hiz lyfe every game. Keeping Gonzo was just to save face for lousy roster makings & draft picks from Hades.

  27. briang123 says: Feb 6, 2014 9:51 PM

    He should have gone to K.C. Shame. Some things just feel right, and that certainly would have.

  28. kneelbeforesod says: Feb 6, 2014 9:55 PM

    A bandwagon teammate (apparently).

  29. elliottcovert says: Feb 6, 2014 10:31 PM

    I don’t see why Gonzalez felt that he couldn’t ask for a trade. I think he’d done enough in Atlanta — and it was clear enough that the team wasn’t going to make the playoffs by October — that he could have requested a trade. It would have been in the Falcons interest since obviously their season was over, and they might as well get a draft pick for an asset who was unlikely to play the next season.

    Beyond that, I’m surprised. I’ve never heard anyone say anything even remotely critical of Gonzalez as a teammate, but this makes him out to be as bad as Aaron Rodgers. And Morgan Burnett, what a class act.

  30. sportsnut101 says: Feb 6, 2014 10:38 PM

    Stay retired.
    If the are 9-2. They don’t need u. If u can’t do the whole season don’t come back

    U can skip preseason fine with me. But not the rest of the games u diva

  31. damcmp says: Feb 6, 2014 10:39 PM

    another selfish ass

  32. evermench says: Feb 6, 2014 10:41 PM

    49ers!

  33. realfan41 says: Feb 6, 2014 10:48 PM

    This guy has always been a phony. ALWAYS! Ask anybody around the River Falls area when the Chiefs trained there. One of the greatest TE’s of all time? ABSOLUTELY! He will be coming to an NFL Pre-Game show near you very soon.

  34. The Great Ted Thompson the Genius says: Feb 6, 2014 11:05 PM

    Those Packers. Classy as always.

  35. wojo243 says: Feb 6, 2014 11:14 PM

    Gonzalez is a great player and deserves a spot in the HoF but he’s a whiney wimp off the field.

    So much for team chemistry if you have guys like Gonazalez on your squad hanging threats of retirement and whining about how he should’ve never came back. I’d rather hang a young, hungry kid out there on the field than a guy who feels like the world owes him something.

  36. stampnhawk says: Feb 6, 2014 11:18 PM

    Tainting the legacy, but not surprising when the media pumps a guy and his legacy into something he’s not, over the years.

    Sounds like a selfish diva at worst, pretty high maintenance at best.

    And not sure how many locker rooms would be fine with airlifting a guy in for the last 5 games like he wants, taking the place of a TE that’s been there since OTA’s in the spring….and that’s assuming he’s in shape and even “has it” anymore.

  37. seenoland54 says: Feb 6, 2014 11:59 PM

    Come back after the Falcons are 9-2? What kind of thinking is that? Why not sit your prima donna can on your couch, watch your TV, eat your pizza, and have a team deliver a Super Bowl ring to you on a silver platter your royal highness. I’m sure that every member of any team would jump at doing that for you. “Let’s don’t let Tony break a sweat boys, let’s get it down for his majesty!”

  38. wuchick2002 says: Feb 7, 2014 12:47 AM

    As a chiefs fan… I don’t want him back. Atlanta, he is all yours.

  39. normswifevera says: Feb 7, 2014 2:13 AM

    “it peels back an image that had been carefully manicured throughout his length career.”

    Nothing people in KC didn’t already know.

  40. raze12004 says: Feb 7, 2014 2:27 AM

    He shouldn’t be upset with the Falcons, he should be mad at his son, didn’t he say he came back because his son wanted him to.

  41. rjg427 says: Feb 7, 2014 8:14 AM

    This guy is quickly talking his way right out of a first-ballot HOF bid…shut up you DIVA!

  42. kozmo50 says: Feb 7, 2014 1:46 PM

    Shut up you big baby!! Man up, it is what it is!

  43. s0krat3s says: Feb 8, 2014 7:36 PM

    Gonzalez is arguably the best TE of all time and people are dumb enough to tell him to man up. That’s priceless.
    If I spent my entire career getting beat up for terrible Chiefs (and Falcons) teams I’d rather not continue to play for another pathetic team.

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