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Falcons Vs. Lions: Tony Gonzalez Four Catches From No. 2 On All-Time List

In his 13th season in the league, Atlanta Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez is climbing his way up the NFL record books. With his next four catches, he will pass Marvin Harrison and Cris Carter for second-all time in career receptions, behind only Jerry Rice.

The next closest tight end is Shannon Sharpe at No. 21, nearly 300 catches behind Gonzalez. The nine-time All Pro selection has caught 1,099 passes for 12,781 yards and 92 TD's playing for Kansas City and Atlanta.

"With no disrespect to any of the other tight ends including Ozzie Newsome who I know very well, I think he's probably the best tight end to ever play the game and his work ethic is just unbelievable," said Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith.

And while Rice had Joe Montana and Steve Young throwing him passes, the best QB's Gonzalez has played with is Trent Green and fourth-year Falcons QB Matt Ryan. 

"It's a testament to how good of a player he is, how hard he has worked for such a long time and how talented he is," said Ryan. "He's been incredible for my career. He's taught me a lot both on the field and off the field."

Gonzalez, at 6'5 247, was a two-sport star in college. His success blazed a trail for an entire generation of undersized power forwards to make the transition to football, from Antonio Gates, who played only basketball at Kansas State, to Jermichael Finley, a high-school basketball standout who has credited his time as an AAU player for a lot of his success in the NFL.

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