The Atlanta Falcons today announced that they have released tight end Tony Gonzalez.
"We would like to begin by thanking Tony for his contributions to our organization, community and fan base over the last five seasons," Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff said. "There is no doubt that he is the best tight end to ever play the game and will have a bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Tony was the consummate professional that led by example. He was one of the hardest working players I have ever been around and has left a lasting impact on this team."
"This was a decision we had to make with the start of the new League year as we begin retooling our roster for 2014. On behalf of the entire Falcons organization, we wish Tony all the best in his television career and thank him for everything he did for this franchise."
Gonzalez, 6‐5, 247 pounds, was originally selected by the Kansas City Chiefs in the first round (13th overall) of the 1997 NFL Draft. He was traded to the Falcons in exchange for Atlanta's second round selection in the 2010 NFL Draft on April 23, 2009. A 14-time Pro Bowler, Gonzalez owns virtually every NFL record at the tight end position. He is just the fifth player in NFL history to record 15,000 career receiving yards (15,071) and has more career receptions (1,321), receiving yards (15,071), touchdown catches (111), 100-yard games (31), Pro Bowl appearances (14) and 1,000-yard seasons (four) than any other tight end in NFL history. A future Hall of Famer, Gonzalez ranks second in League annals in receptions, fifth in receiving yards, and sixth in touchdown receptions.
In five seasons with the Falcons, Gonzalez compiled 409 receptions, 4,187 yards, and 35 touchdowns. He made a lasting impact on the club as he ranks fourth in franchise history in receptions, eighth in receiving yards, and is tied for ﬁfth in touchdowns. He was named to the Pro Bowl for the 14th time in his career and the fourth time in his five seasons with the Falcons in 2013 after catching a team-high 79 passes for 803 yards with eight touchdowns. In 2012, he set a franchise record among tight ends with 93 receptions and 930 receiving yards en route to his sixth career first-team All-Pro selection.
Gonzalez spent the first 12 years of his NFL career in Kansas City where he recorded 916 receptions, 10,940 yards, and 76 touchdowns. He earned 10 Pro Bowl berths as a Chief and was selected as a first-team All Pro by the Associated Press five times during that span. His 76 touchdowns with Kansas City are second in team history trailing only running back Priest Holmes (83).