Gonzalez on leave, won’t play in Falcons’ first preseason game


When the Falcons converted tight end Tony Gonzalez’s 95-percent vow to retire into a 100-percent decision to play, the team was fine with not having 100 percent of his time during training camp.

As explained by D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the future Hall of Famer currently is on leave from the team.   Gonzalez also won’t be playing in the preseason opener against the Bengals.

“Tony is gone,” coach Mike Smith told reporters on Saturday.  “Again, I don’t want to get into details.  His son is starting football this week.  It’s his first season of tackle football and he’s going to be with him.  Our plan is that Tony will be missing the first preseason game but he will play in the last two preseason games.  That’s an update and I don’t want to be having a Tony Gonzalez update moving forward, but that’s where we’re at right now.

“We knew this ahead of time. Not to rehash it but Tony had made these commitments to his family prior to deciding to come back and play.  When Tony can be here, he is going to be here and be a part of it and I think that was very evident by him being here for the first three days of practice.”

On one hand, Gonzalez has the stature to finagle such considerations from the team.  On the other hand, it potentially undermines the notion of “team” when one player has a different set of rules than everyone else.

That’s probably why Smith doesn’t want to talk much about it.  He needs the rest of the guys to not become resentful of Gonzalez for getting special treatment.

Even though he is.

46 responses to “Gonzalez on leave, won’t play in Falcons’ first preseason game

  1. Gonzalez always tries to skip camp and as much preseason as possible. But, if there is anyone on that team that deserves it, it’s him!

  2. Yea, I’m sure his teammates are mad he’s keeping promises and commitments he made to his family and kids.


  3. Old vets often get training camp concessions. A guy on the tail end of a HOF career is going to get some for sure, and Smith should cut the first guy that bitches about it.

  4. He’s getting the full Favre treatment. If he was smart he would have waffled on retiring until the third week of training camp and then showed up.

  5. He earned that. He didn’t even want to play. They begged him, so this is the deal. Anyone that resents it should ask for the same in their contract — they’ll be asked to leave, they’re not tony.

  6. He earned his dues 10 fold. The ravens took took a different approach with Lewis and watching his sons senior year of playing and his team won the Super Bowl. GO BUCS!!!!

  7. Maybe if Mike Smith keeps it on the down low, the rest of the team won’t notice Gonzalez is skipping out on the part of camp that few players actually like.

  8. If the team were concerned about appearances or double standards, they wouldn’t have agreed to make the concessions in return for Tony playing another season. They clearly feel like he’s worth the risk and they’re right. Any of the guys who feels differently needs to get over it.

  9. Make sure you guys watch your carbs this week, Tony might get mad you. What a tool. This guy is overrated on and off the field.

  10. Tony Gonzalez is the anti Brett Favre. He was upfront with the team and they were ok with it. At least the Falcons sacrifice their dignity like a certain other team did by sending a private plane with a personal entourage of players to fetch him back. At least Tony doesn’t think he’s bigger than the team like Favre did.

  11. If there are any issues, line the team up then ask for all of the “sure fire, first ballot hall of famers to step forward” then tell all of them they can skip the 1st two preseason games also.

  12. If I am a Falcon and our star TE, arguably the best TE to even play the game, decided to give it one last try to win a super bowl only if he misses two weeks of training camp, I will gladly take that.

  13. I don’t see why this is an issue, the team definitely gave him these perks when they begged him to come back, despite the fact that he didn’t really want to.

    If any of his team mates have a problem with it they can play at a hall of fame level for 10+ years and earn the same treatment.

  14. Tony made a commitment to his son that he would bet there for him for his first tackle football game. That was understood when they negotiated his new one year contract, and he was there the 1st 3 days of camp.

    It’s a non-story, there is no controversy. The greatest TE to ever play his position gets more leeway than everyone else. This has been know since he re-signed.

  15. not one player or person in the falcons organization will resent tony g for getting special treatment. as a future hall of famer and the best tight end to ever play the game, he has earned it, and they are all thankful to have him around for another year. he’s one of the most reliable and well-prepared players in the league, and if you think this will affect his performance this year or chemistry with matt ryan, you don’t know much about him as a player and person.

  16. Pilot 2011. Troll elsewhere. Name one thing that makes him a tool. He is only the best TE to ever put on the uniform. Falcons were well aware of this and it is no concern at all people who say otherwise will never be pleased with anything.

  17. Usually when someone talks about a “media created distraction” they are trying to cover up a true distraction….but not in this case. Everyone knew the conditions when Gonzalez returned, every player knows he earned it, every player knows they have a better shot at the Super Bowl with him on board, and every player knows a sure fire HOF tight end who’s always in shape doesn’t need a full training camp…..guarantee the creeps running him down have never been near a football field, except maybe to cut the grass…..

  18. If the Falcons win the Super Bowl, I’ll know the games are fixed. Tony comes back for 1 more year to win it all, makes for a good storyline. Just like Ray Lewis, saying he’s retiring at the end of the season, and all of a sudden, an average at best team gets hot and wins. Sounds fishy…

  19. No OTAs, Mini-Camps, Summer Camp and now 2 preseason games? Sounds like Ol’ Tony won’t be in football shape come the regular season. I give him 3 games, and he’ll be out on Injured Reserve.

    The Falcons will be 8 & 8, and miss the playoffs for putting all hopes in an over-the-hill out of shape relic, who should have stayed retired.

  20. A player this long into his career doesn’t need training camp or pre-season anyways. Not like he’s going to see anything new.

  21. If your gunna play football then do it. Dont be a spoiled baby. Their are alot of young guys who work hard everday and wish they could even experience mini camps or training camp on a NFL team.

  22. Tony Gonzales, shouldn’t be in the news in the preseason unless it’s injury related. He’s earned whatever time off, leeway that can exist in July-August. And I’m not even a Falcons or Chiefs fan.

  23. bradbowski says: Jul 28, 2013 10:32 PM

    If there are any issues, line the team up then ask for all of the “sure fire, first ballot hall of famers to step forward” then tell all of them they can skip the 1st two preseason games also.


    Don’t think Steven Jackson is playing much during the first two preseason games anyways.

  24. If it was really a team they would all be playing for the same amount of $$$! I am sure there is no resentment for Matt Ryan making 40 times more per year then then the min. Wage players….

  25. From a Packer fan who has seen this before : be careful, this is a slippery slope!

    No matter how good he is and how much he’s “given” to the team (forgetting, of course about the millions of $ he got in return), this can get ugly.

    Can’t it, Bert?

  26. Reblogged this on UnSportsMenMic and commented:
    He should only play the final Preseason game, but that shows the class Gonzo has. He is going to treat his last year like a true professional and put the team first. RESPECT!

  27. The Falcants will never win a SB….fact….always the bridesmaid, never the bride…..

    Saints own you…..fact….forever RINGLESS in da ATL..lmao…

    Who dat, we dat……SB44 champs….

    What’s the difference between a Grisham novel and the Falcants? The book has a TITLE!…lmao…

  28. He should get special treatment. He’s flippin earned it! This isn’t kindergarten. Life isn’t fair.
    This does nothing to the notion of team. Ridiculous statement. Should the rest of the guys resent the guy in the red cover-up jersey who isn’t supposed to get hit? That seems pretty unfair too.

  29. On the other hand, it potentially undermines the notion of “team” when one player has a different set of rules than everyone else.

    Um, no. On the other hand, it prevents unneeded wear and tear on a player of his age, by missing a bunch of drills he doesnt need anyway.

  30. Tony will show up for games, and be 100% metal and physical to play. That’s the difference between him and most guys who wanna skip camp and required time. If there is anyone I trust to be ready with minimal time with the team prior to the season, it’s this man. I just hope the Falcons can send him out on the highest note for a player this year.

  31. Greatest TE in History Wish he never left the Chiefs..
    If anyone deserves a Superbowl before the retire its him. I will be rooting for Falcons this year as long as Chiefs dont make a run for it which i doubt will happen

  32. A player on that team, not named Tony Gonzalez should be happy about it. They should be happy to see the organization actually cared enough to give a guy (who will go down as the best TE to play) a chance who has put in his dues, to go and watch and be a part of his sons first football game. Look, that’s an organization showing class. And every young player should only hope to play as long in the league as Tony has. And should hope that wherever they are playing later in their career that their team would give them the same opportunity that the Falcons are giving Tony. Any player that looks at it differently should probably be cut.

    And i’m not a falcons fan! I just think this shouldn’t be an issue. A father is going to want to be at his sons first tackle football game. And this was the right thing to do. Everyone else in the league should want to be the best father they can be as well! And the falcons are allowing Tony that chance.

  33. “it potentially undermines the notion of “team” when one player has a different set of rules than everyone else.”

    I’m sorry but Tony has earned this. If any young teammates have a problem with it then they need a talking to from some other vets on the Falcons team.

    It’s also smart from a football standpoint. Tony’s body isn’t what it used to be and keeping him fresh is smart. Hines Ward regularly took at least 1 day off of practice per week, in his later years and it really helped him stay healthier.

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