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Transcript: Tony Gonzalez Interview

Posted Dec 27, 2013

Tight end Tony Gonzalez spoke to the media after the last practice of his career on Friday, Dec. 27.

On playing in his last game Sunday:

“I’m looking forward to it, honestly, to tell you the truth. I’m looking forward to playing a game, and kind of getting it over with. I got 40 people coming in, I’ve got my high school football and basketball coaches coming in, I’ve got all my family coming in. so it’s going to be a little emotional. I’m just so happy that I was able to have this opportunity of being in the NFL all these years and I’m looking forward to going out there and hopefully finishing on a high note.”

On being the first one in the weight room the morning after a long flight this week:

“Nothing changes. Why would I change it at this point? We have one game left. Like I said, I’m a creature of habit. I have that routine for a reason, so I don’t have to think about it, I can just follow it. And it works. So I’m going to stick to it until the end. I had my catches during practice today, I’m going to go do my massage right now, I’m going to do my normal routine as much as I possibly can. Obviously there’s a little bit more distractions this week because it’s my last game. But I’m going to try and keep it simple and follow my routine and hopefully it’ll work out on Sunday.”

On setting expectations his rookie season:

“I’ve never even thought that far ahead because I figure what’s the use in that? I have to take care of it now. When I got in there, I had to play with guys like Derrick Thomas and Marcus Allen and Andre Rison, Will Shields, I was just trying to do the best I can to help out that team. I wasn’t thinking too far ahead and once I got going, I set my goals at the beginning of the year but I never ever looked further down the line. But this is football. The reality of this game is that it’s not for long. You never know when it could come to an end. That’s always been my approach. I’ve never ever said I’ve arrived with my accomplishments. I’ve never ever said, that’s good enough for me. Or I’ve caught enough balls to last a lifetime. I always wanted to keep working and keep working in case this is it. In case this is my last one. And now coming to my last one, I’m glad I’ve done it that way. It worked out and hopefully ill carry those habits into my next career, whatever that is.”

On coming to Atlanta in 2009:

“It’s been unbelievable. When I got traded, I think we won two games that year and Kansas City was in rebuilding. I had a great time out there, there’s no doubt about that. But coming here, just seeing how they did things around here. Just the environment, the players, how they wanted to go to work. Guys like Roddy, guys like Matt, Abraham back then. It’s contagious. And you see why they’re able to do what they do around here and why the winning came when Smitty got here and when Thomas Dimitroff got here. I thank Thomas obviously for executing that trade. But the fans have been great, the city of Atlanta – this is more than I ever though it could be. I stayed here a lot longer than I ever though I was going to and I think that had a lot to do with the guys in this team and the way they do things around here. The winning. It’s far more than I ever, ever thought I was going to be able to do when I got to Atlanta. And now I’m so thankful for having that opportunity.”

On going out on his own terms:

“I don’t know if I have pride. I’m satisfied with it. And like I said, it’s always been about that routine with me. Being able to go out on your own terms, that’s a luxury. Most guys don’t get to have that opportunity. So I’m thankful for that. And like I said, I know I could come back and play a couple more years if I wanted to, but it’s time for me to go. It’s time for me to get back to my family, to get back to California, where I’m from and explore that next chapter of my life and I’m going to have fun with it. There’s no doubt in my mind that whatever I do, I’m going to be passionate about it and I’m going to throw myself into it like I’ve done with football, something is going to take place.”

On Roddy White saying he'll be back next year:

“Roddy doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Tell him to pay me my money, and then he can talk.”

On the possibility of him playing next year mid-season:

“I’d have to cross that bridge when I get to it. I know for sure I’m not going to be there opening day for anybody. This is it. This is it. And like I said, don’t anybody feel bad for me. The things that I’ve accomplished in my career are more than anybody deserves. Its been a great ride, the places that I’ve been able to go because of football. The platform it’s given me. It’s been a dream come true for me. I’m living proof that if you follow it and you work hard, good things will happen. I’m just happy I was able to have that opportunity. “

On his relationship with rookie tight end Levine Toilolo:

“Levine, first of all, he’s a really smart guy. It’s hard for me to say that because he went to Stanford and I went to Berkley. I think his future’s bright. And yeah, he can definitely call me, anytime he wants. That’s the thing I’m talking about with football. The relationships that this sport gives you, the closeness – you go through a lot, it’s an emotional rollercoaster. It’s a physical rollercoaster, and when you go through it with somebody – they’re your friend. And I think Levine is a very good one. If he keeps working like he does, and l think he will. I have no doubt. If he keeps listening to Coach (Chris) Scelfo, who’s a great coach and has taught me more after I got here, after 12 years in the league, I learned a lot more from a coach like him. And Levine’s going to be a big part of this offense for a long time.”