Last week, Tony Gonzalez created stirs on a pair of fronts with comments in an interview with Seth Wickersham for ESPN The Magazine.
Gonzalez made a comment about returning to play next season if the Falcons were looking like a Super Bowl contender and he also said he thought quarterback Matt Ryan was excellent but not elite. On Friday, we brought you some further comments from Gonzalez on the possibility of a comeback from an interview with Doug Gottlieb of CBS Sports Radio but he revisited the Ryan issue as well.
“It’s not a matter of if [Ryan becomes an elite quarterback], it’s just a matter of when and I said that from the first time I saw him throw a football,” Gonzalez said. “He is an unbelievable talent. He has unbelievable skill. And the thing that really separates him is his work ethic, and I mention that in the article. There was no stopping him. There was no stopping him.”
Gonzalez held the same view during a Monday chat with Colin Cowherd of ESPN Radio. Gonzalez he didn’t mean it as a slight to rank Ryan below Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees, just as he means no slight to Ben Roethlisberger or Eli Manning to rank them alongside Ryan.
It’s hard to quibble with that breakdown of the NFL’s current quarterbacks, although there’s sure to be a wider range of opinions about Gonzalez’s feeling that it’s just a matter of when Ryan joins the four quarterbacks he listed as elite.