When retired Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez described quarterback Matt Ryan as excellent but not elite, the “not elite” portion of that quote got a lot more attention than the “excellent” part. Gonzalez wasn’t happy about that.
Gonzalez told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that although he had no problem with the original ESPN Magazine story in which his comments appeared, he did have a problem with how ESPN and NFL Network took a partial quote and ran with it.
“There was no firestorm,” Gonzalez said. “They pulled quotes from that article a couple of days before it came out, so now you’re not getting the whole story. ESPN was biased about it and so was the NFL Network. I saw the ticker where it said, ‘Tony calls out his former quarterback’ or whatever. Which is ridiculous.”
Gonzalez says he respects Ryan professionally and considers him a good friend and sees no reason for anyone to suggest otherwise.
“Matt and I are going on two vacations together,” Gonzalez said. “Me and his wife and my wife, we go out to dinner all of the time. Why would I call the guy out, who made the last five years of my career great? Why would I call him out? I didn’t call him out. That’s why I didn’t respond to it. I didn’t tweet about it. I didn’t go on a bunch of radio stations. I did a couple of interviews and I was like, I’m not defending myself. This is ridiculous and I talked to Matt, too. It’s a non-story as far as I was concerned.”
It seems like every NFL offseason features at least one manufactured controversy about whether a certain quarterback is or is not elite. At least we got the one from this offseason over with early.