He's hinted at it before. He's even said something similar in past seasons, but Friday, Tony Gonzalez, the Falcons' future Hall of Fame tight end, said with confidence that he believes this season will be his last.
"I'd say I'm 95 percent sure," Gonzalez said. "Talking to my family this offseason, I've had a good run. I feel pretty good about where I'm at as a player right now. I want to make sure I end at the top. I don't want to be one of those players toward the end of their career, nothing against guys that have done it like that in the past, but I want to make sure I'm at the top of my game when I do go out."
While he left the door open with the remaining five percent, he said that's because he can't fully ensure he won't change his mind, but at this point, entering his 16th season, he feels pretty sure about his pending decision.
"You never want to say never," he said. "They make movies about it all the time. I'd hate to put my foot in my mouth if I came back. My family and my children, I think they're ready for me to be around the house full time now."
While he said physically he felt like he could play for three more seasons, he wants to go out feeling like he's still one of the best players at his position in the league, not just remembered as one once. He received advice on retiring from a number of retired legends of the game and he got a mixed response on how and when to do it.
He went on to say he feels like this year's team is the best Falcons team he's been a part of and he is going to have a lot of enjoyment out of this season, knowing it's going to be his last, beginning with training camp.
Falcons head coach Mike Smith said he wished Gonzalez would play three more years if he felt like he could, but whenever the tight end hangs it up, he'll always have the admiration of his head coach for the past three seasons.
"I've never seen anybody like Tony Gonzalez," Mike Smith said. "He's one of the first guys out on the field and will catch three or four hundred balls in practice. He's going to work on blocking and get out early with the sled. He's a great mentor and example for everybody else on our football team."