Atlanta Welcomes Back Gonzo With Open Arms
Dirty Bird Nation, it is official. Atlanta Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez arrived at camp last week and is ready for another season after having missed part of training camp to spend more time with his family. The future Hall of Famer is poised to help the Falcons get over the hump, leading them on a February trip to New York for this year's Super Bowl.
Gonzalez looked solid during the presason game against the Tennessee Titans on Saturday. He did not appear sluggish when he ran his routes and though he only caught two passes in that game, Gonzalez averaged about 10 yards per catch. He did not play in Thursday's game as expected, since the reserves played for most of the game, but Gonzalez has looked great in practices during his time in training camp.
Do not expect Gonzo to lose a step this season. Though he is 37 years old, he is still playing at an elite level and will certainly be rewriting the record books for tight ends. Last year alone, he nearly gained 1,000 yards and scored eight times. He is a redzone threat for opposing defenses and will pair up nicely with the strong running abilities of newly aquired RB Steven Jackson. The only thing that I am concerned about is how well he will block for a north-south runner like Jackson. No worries though, as fans will care more about his touchdown production than his ability to block defensive linemen and linebackers.
And of course, Gonzalez will still be an example of Falcons players conducting themselves with class both on and off the playing field. In fact, he will step it up a notch by mentoring rookie TE Levine Toilolo this season. Like Gonzo, Toilolo is slated to be just as dangerous in the redzone for years to come. This is a great opportunity for him to learn from arguably the greatest tight end in the history of professional football.
In short, it is finally time for Falcons fans to see Gonzalez help the team rise up and make a trip to the Super Bowl. Besides, that is his main reason for coming back for one more season afterall.