Going into his final first day of Russell Athletic Training Camp on Thursday, Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez said that, although he's confident in that this is, indeed, his last season, he's also confident in that his final team can make it far.
"This is it. This is my last season, and I'm looking forward to it," Gonzalez said. "This is going to be fun. With the guys that are on this team, with the fan support, we try to pick up where we left off last year but last year is last year. The sky is the limit on what we can do."
The veteran took the field at the team's facilities in Flowery Branch to practice along with the rest of his teammates, assuring everyone that he was feeling confident in not only his teammates but in himself as well.
"Physically, I feel good. I feel really good," Gonzalez said. "I'm old, but I'm still hanging with the fellas today. I caught a couple of balls out there."
Because of Gonzalez's commitment to his family, heading into Thursday, it was unclear whether he would be at camp the first day or how often he would participate. Falcons head coach Mike Smith, however, said he "absolutely" knew Gonzalez would show up.
"Before Tony decided to come back, he made some commitments to his family," Smith said. "And after talking with Tony, we've come to a mutual agreement that we're going to allow him to honor those commitments.
"So there will be some time that he'll be here in training camp, and there will be some time when he won't. I think those decisions were made prior to him deciding whether he was going to play again. But that's really between Tony and I."
Although neither Smith nor Gonzalez are disclosing how often the tight end will be seen at camp, Gonzalez assures that he plans on being an active part of the team before the season kicks off while still fulfilling the obligations he made to his family.
"I'm here right now. I plan on being here (Friday)," he said. "I'll probably head back and hang out with (my son) and do what I told him I was going to do and then I'll rejoin the team. I'll join the team early. I won't be showing up a week before the game. I'll be out here a lot earlier than that. But I'll be ready to go, too. And you can bet the house on that."
As far as for the rest of the team, Gonzalez knows that if they all actively work hard they can attain major success for the 2013 season.
"We just need to do what we did last year and build on it. We've had a good team for the last couple of years and I think it's even better this year," he said. "We always want to improve in every facet of the game. We know if we just keep working hard with the players that we have, if we stay healthy, we're going to be very tough to stop."