Kevin C. Cox
The tight end apparently has the right price and conditions in mind for a return to the field.
Former Kansas City Chiefs great and current Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez has said for some time that retirement was likely in the cards, with a percentage of 97 percent even thrown around by a teammate. It turns out those percentages change based on the right factors.
Gonzalez is now reportedly considering a serious offer for another year at the right price and the right conditions. Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports has the story:
"He will come back if they pay him $7 million and he doesn't have to do training camp," said one Falcons player familiar with Gonzalez's thinking.
Another team source added, "If we offer him the money, he'll most likely be back for one more. He'll most likely be looking to miss training camp, though."
The Falcons have been quite clear this offseason that they want their star tight end back, and general manager Thomas Dimitroff has made no secret of his hopes for Gonzalez to return.
Any delay of Gonzalez's retirement has indirect consequences for the Chiefs. When the tight end retires, he's a certain first-year Hall of Famer. Gonzalez is the team leader in all-time receptions at 916 and he has 500 more than Henry Marshall in second place. To put that in perspective, you could stack the top two (Marshall and Dwayne Bowe) and they'd still need one more All Pro type of season to equal Gonzalez's total. Gonzalez also holds the team record for touchdown receptions at 76 and career receiving yards at 10,940.
In addition, his totals with the Falcons places Gonzalez's career numbers in elite company in NFL history. His 103 touchdown receptions rank 6th all time and first among tight ends, while his 1,242 receptions are only behind Jerry Rice in all-time NFL history.
When Gonzalez retires, the Chiefs will add another player in their own Ring of Honor and claim another member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. However it seems the team might have to wait an additional year to honor one of the greats.