Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez pulled down four catches on Sunday, giving him 1,104 for his career and sole possession of No. 2 on the NFL's all-time catches list behind Jerry Rice. He's not going to overtake Rice unless he plays for darn near another decade -- he trails by 445 at the moment, or about six years worth of the production he's already put up in Atlanta. (Then again, Rice had six more decent seasons left in him when he was Gonzalez' current age.)
But here's a look at how much of a move he could make if he's able to finish this season healthy and come back for one more year. Reasonable, since he's missed one game since 1999 and none since 2006 yet pondered retirement after last season.
Gonzalez has averaged 4.8 catches per game as a Falcon. If he can play nine more games this year and 16 next year at that pace, he'd retire with 120 more catches -- 1,224 for his career, and only 325 behind Rice.
As for yardage, he passed Irving Fryar on Sunday to move to No. 13:
|Rank||Player (age), + - HOFer, Bold - Active||Yds||Years||Teams|
|2.||Terrell Owens (37)||15,934||1996-2010||5TM|
|5.||Randy Moss (33)||14,858||1998-2010||4TM|
|13.||Tony Gonzalez (34)||12,843||1997-2011||2TM|
He's averaged 49 yards per game in his 39 games in Atlanta. If he kept up that pace through 2011 and 2012, he'd land at 14,068 yards, good for seventh place all-time and 4,008 better than the nearest tight end, Shannon Sharpe. Jason Witten is the active tight end with the best chance to make a run -- the 28-year-old has 7,416 yards -- but should still come up well short.
|Rank||Player (age), + - HOFer, Bold - Active||TD||Years||Teams|
|2.||Randy Moss (33)||153||1998-2010||4TM|
|Terrell Owens (37)||153||1996-2010||5TM|
|9.||Tony Gonzalez (34)||92||1997-2011||2TM|
Likewise, Gonzalez has put up .4 touchdowns per game in Atlanta, or almost a touchdown every other game. If he can maintain that pace through 2012, he'll score 10 more, putting him at No. 6 all-time. The nearest tight end is 30-year-old Antonio Gates, who has 69.
If he's able to play five whole seasons for the Falcons, he'd also make a mark on Atlanta's own record books. Using the numbers above, Gonzalez would rank No. 6 among all Falcons in catches. That's just behind Alge Crumpler, who was here for the first seven years of his career.
His yardage total could land somewhere around 4,969 (No. 5 behind Andre Rison), and he could finish with 26 touchdowns (No. 8 behind Wallace Francis).