Former Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez, now in his first year as a studio analyst for CBS Sports’ coverage of the NFL, resisted the urge to come out of retirement during the 2014 season.
Gonzalez, 38, said at least two teams he would not identify reached out to him, but he’s much happier wearing an ear piece than a helmet.
“I’m done, and I’m enjoying what I’m doing,” Gonzalez said Tuesday on a CBS conference call. “It’s been a dream come true for me to make this transition.”
Gonzalez laughed when asked if he would be willing to play for a team that finds itself in need of a tight end for the Super Bowl.
“If I could be like the third-string tight end, and I don’t have to get in the game, and I can get a ring, yeah,” said Gonzalez, who spent his first 12 seasons with the Chiefs and last five years with Atlanta.
“If there was a team out there in need of a tight end, they better go somewhere else because I’m about 230 pounds now,” added Gonzalez, who played at 251 pounds, “and I’m afraid I’d get crushed out there on the football field.
“I enjoyed 17 years, had a great time, but I’m very happy where I’m at right now.”
Gonzalez, who finished his Hall of Fame-bound career with 1,325, receptions, second in NFL history only to Jerry Rice, never had second thoughts about retiring after the 2013 season. The only regret in his career was never playing in a Super Bowl. His teams were 1-6 in the postseason, including 0-3 with the Chiefs.
Gonzalez admitted he had a few pangs of withdrawal during the second week of the season, when the CBS crew went to Atlanta for a Thursday night game.
“That was my first time back at the dome, where I played my last five years,” Gonzalez said, “with my old teammates, Matt (Ryan), Roddy (White), Julio (Jones) … and watching them run out to the field when they were introduced … I figured that was going to be the true test of ‘Am I really ready to walk away from this game?’ because of the energy of the crowd … people were yelling …
“I got maybe about a 2 percent urge to go out there. But I walked away from the game on my own terms and played a long time.”
Whenever he’s asked about coming back to play, Gonzalez is quick to point out he actually did that in 2013, because he intended to retire after the 2012 season ended with a loss to San Francisco in the 2012 NFC Championship Game.
The Falcons ended up going 4-12 in his final season in 2013.
“I decided to come back,” Gonzalez said of 2013, “because of the opportunity that was there with that team, or at least I thought it was. It didn’t turn out that way. So I already did come back, and I got everything I wanted out of playing the game. It was a glorious time, but it is over, and I’m absolutely content with it.
“I’ve been lucky, to work with CBS and to be around such great people on that desk and to be close to the game. There hasn’t been anything I’ve missed about it.”