Although Gonzalez is recognized as one of the best TE's to ever play football, somehow he still doesn't get the credit or recognition he deserves. Everybody has made a huge deal about Ray Lewis retirement and deservedly so. I'm as big a fan of #52 as any. But I'm also a huge fan of #88. Tony Gonzalez is every bit as great a Tight End as Ray Lewis is a Linebacker and I feel he gets slighted all too often.
Tony Gonzalez has been telling fans, friends and media that this will most likely be his final season as he was contemplating retirement. But it didn't seem that the mainstream sports media really cared or paid any attention to it. I ask why not? Tony Gonzalez is regarded as the best TE in the history of the NFL. He is also one of the most respected players in football and most say you'd be hard pressed to find a better person. You would think that some of these high profile networks would have paid more of a tribute to Gonzalez, especially after he finally broke through and won his first playoff game of his incredible career.
Here's some of the numbers you need to know:
1. 13 time pro bowl selection
2. First team All Pro 6 times
3. All time leader in receiving yards for a TE (14,268)
4. Career touchdown leader for Tight Ends (104)
5. All time receptions leader for TE (1,242) and 2nd of any position
6. Tied with Jerry Rice for most seasons with 70+ catches
7. Most consecutive starts by a TE (120)
8. Second on the all time receptions list for any position
9. 2nd in single season catches by TE (broken by Witten this season)
10. He's still the all time leader in receptions, touchdowns and yards for the Chiefs
Gonzalez rarely missed a game. Three in total over a 16 year career. That's amazing when you consider the brutal position he plays. Tight Ends are involved on every play, much like an offensive lineman. While Gonzalez was better known for his pass catching abilities, he also had to stay in and block on nearly every running play and in some passing situations. When he's not blocking for his teammates, Gonzalez is getting open down the field for a reception only to get smashed by an opposing defender. He's been beaten, battered, bruised, tackled, tossed to the ground and all he did was get right back up and did it again.
You never heard a peep out of Tony Gonzalez nor did people peep about him because the man is squeaky clean. A true professional in every sense of the word. The man has showed up to work for 16 years and did his job as good as anybody had ever done it. Gonzalez holds virtually every record for Tight Ends in the NFL and is credited with revolutionizing the position. He's guaranteed to walk into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot and probably would go in sooner if possible. I sit back and wonder why he isn't getting as much praise as he deserves.