“Tony brings a new dynamic to the Falcons offense and we are very pleased that we were able to make the trade with Kansas City,” General Manager Thomas Dimitroff said. “His career numbers and records are top notch and he will no doubt be an integral part of our offense.”
The 13-year veteran is the all-time leader among tight ends in receptions (916), touchdowns (76) and receiving yards (10,940). He’s played in 191 career games and missed just two starts since 1998. Gonzalez’s 93 catches (1,058 yards) last season marked the third-highest single-season total of his career. He also added 10 touchdowns, the third time he’s had 10 or more scores in a season.
Those numbers earned him a spot in the Pro Bowl, where he set a game record for career receiving yards with six catches for 98 yards and a touchdown.
Gonzalez, 6-foot-5, 251 lbs., played at the University of California before the Chiefs drafted him with the 13th overall selection in the 1997 NFL Draft.
He’s a six-time All-Pro selection by various media outlets and led the league in receptions in 2004 (102). That’s also the record for most catches in a season by a tight end.
Falcons tight ends combined for 19 catches for 211 yards and two touchdowns last season. Gonzalez is expected to provide another offensive weapon for quarterback Matt Ryan.
Reporters around the country think this could put the Falcons offensive over the top (video) but the team’s quarterback is taking the news in stride and is happy to have one of the game’s greatest players as a mentor.
“Tony’s arrival will make an instant impact not only on the offensive side of the ball, but on the overall team in general,” Ryan said. “I feel privileged to be throwing the ball to a future Hall of Famer and I’m anxious to get on the field to start working with him.”
Gonzalez is a world traveler, taking time to study abroad over the offseason in 2004, 2005 and 2006. He was named the “2004 NFL Good Guy” by the Sporting News and is active in charitable efforts through the Tony Gonzalez Foundation, which he founded in 1998.
“Tony is one of the best tight ends in NFL history and will be a great addition to our team,” said Head Coach Mike Smith. “He will be a leader both on and off the field for our organization.”
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…
A quick look at what’s being said about the Falcons trade for Gonzalez.
A special Bradley’s Buzz: All-draft edition with T. Gonzalez!, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Some quick notes on Gonzalez and some now out-of-date predictions on the Falcons and the draft.
NFL draft’s big winner — Atlanta Falcons again, The Associated Press
Last year Dimitroff made an impact in free agency and draft day. This year, the biggest move may have come with the first round more than 24 hours away.
Chiefs trade Gonzalez for 2010 draft pick, ESPN.com
ESPN.com pulls together all the necessary information and puts it in a nice package.
Falcons trade for Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The story of note from the paper of record.
Falcons land Gonzalez, NFL.com
The NFL Network crew talked about how the acquisition of Gonzalez will change the Falcons draft plans.
Chiefs trade Gonzalez to Atlanta for second-round pick, The Kansas City Star
Gonzalez has yet to win a playoff game in his 13-year career.
Video: Breaking down the Gonzalez trade, ESPN.com
Panelists discuss the Falcons increased odds of making the playoffs and high-powered offense now that Gonzalez is in the mix.