After musing on multiple occasions in recent weeks about a midseason return in 2014 if the Falcons start strong and if they haven’t filled his spot, Tony Gonzalez has slammed a door that supposedly was already slammed.
According to Josh Carpenter of SportsBusiness Daily, Gonzalez said he won’t be back as a player.
It’s possible that Gonzalez signed a contract that prevents him from returning to the field. If, after all, CBS is going to dump Shannon Sharpe in order to create a spot for his on-field heir, Gonzalez needs to see it through. Also, with both Sharpe and Dan Marino gone from CBS in an instant, Gonzalez needs to realize that there aren’t many seats for former players at network grown-ups tables, and that there are many, many former players who want one.
“I’ve seen guys I’ve played against that have made that transition,” Gonzalez said regarding his decision to enter TV. “I started saying to myself, ‘This is something I can do.’”
Gonzalez, who also will contribute to Showtime’s Inside the NFL (CBS and Showtime share a parent), said he’ll be willing to talk about any NFL-related topic.
“I’ll address them as I see fit,” he said. “I think I’ll be able to give an interesting perspective.”
He needs to, because just as Jimmy Graham has become the on-field successor to Sharpe and Gonzalez, some other former player inevitably will think he can do a better job than Gonzalez. And in broadcasting, there’s a fraction of spots for former players that there are in the NFL for current ones. And the big-name players who have recently retired always have more built-in sizzle than the guys who retired a decade ago.