Former Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez, who helped lead the Atlanta Falcons to a 13-3 record and the NFC championship game last season, was selected as the 2013 Good Guy Award winner by the Professional Football Writers of America.
Gonzalez, the ninth Good Guy Award winner, is the first non-quarterback to be selected for the award since 2007. The Good Guy Award is given to an NFL player for his qualities and professional style in helping pro football writers do their jobs.
I nominated Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson, who was always available and accountable during the Chiefs’ miserable 2-14 season, but not many national writers were around the team to appreciate Johnson’s cooperation.
Gonzalez, who had said during Falcons training camp that he was 95 percent sure he would retire after the 2012 season, had one of his best seasons at age 36 and participated in the first playoff win of his career.
“Throughout the season Tony Gonzalez was more than gracious with his time in dealing with the media,” said PFWA President D. Orlando Ledbetter, who covers the Falcons for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He was frank and open throughout about his plans for retirement and how he wanted to proceed. He exuded style and class throughout his 16th season in the league.”
Gonzalez caught a team-high 93 passes for 930 yards and eight touchdowns, earning his 13th Pro Bowl appearance. Gonzalez holds NFL tight-end records for career receptions (1,242), receiving yards (14,268), TD catches (103), 100-yard games (30) and 1,000-yard seasons (four).
Gonzalez, who spent 1997-2008 with the Chiefs, announced last March 12 that he would return to the Falcons for his 17th NFL season.
Former Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli, now an analyst for NBC Sports, in one of his first moves in Kansas City, traded Gonzalez in 2009 for a second-round draft choice who turned out to be a bust in cornerback Javier Arenas.