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Tony Gonzalez Mulls Retirement After 14th Season

Another disappointing playoff loss has Atlanta Falcons' tight end, Tony Gonzalez, considering retirement after 14 seasons. Gonzalez, who spent 12 years with the Kansas City Chiefs before joining the Falcons in 2008, has pondered leaving the game before, once this preseason and again prior to the playoffs. Though Gonzalez's numbers declined for the third consecutive season, the soon-to-be 35-year-old is a valuable part of the Falcons offense and would leave the team with big shoes to fill at tight end should he choose to call it a career.

Gonzalez will be playing in his 11th Pro Bowl at the end of this month and holds a host of records including most catches (1,069), yards (12,463) and touchdowns (88) by a tight end all-time. He also holds the single-season record for most receptions in a season by a tight end with 102. Basically, he's the G.O.A.T. and the Falcons would struggle to replace his impact.

Physically, there's no reason Gonzalez couldn't return for a 15th season. He's avoided major injuries throughout his career and through his company, All-Pro Science, he's said he is as healthy as he's ever been. But he has plans after football is over and he's smart enough to know that it only takes one hit to make that all go away. If he does walk away, Thomas Dimitroff and company would need to fill the void to keep this team moving in the right direction.

For what it's worth, rookie Kerry Meier played some H-back in college and I wonder if he could be converted to tight end should Gonzalez ride off into the sunset.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.