FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta was on the road when Tony Gonzalez became just the seventh NFL player to catch 1,000 passes, so the Falcons will honor him at the home opener.
The team has declared Sunday as "Tony Gonzalez Day" at the Georgia Dome. Owner Arthur Blank, team president Rick McKay and general manager Thomas Dimitroff will take part in a brief ceremony before the game against the Arizona Cardinals.
There also will be a video montage commemorating the historic catch and Gonzalez's 14-year career.
In addition, fans are encouraged to wear their No. 88 jerseys. For those who don't have one, the Falcons are knocking off the price of Gonzalez attire by 50 percent, both on merchandise sold at the stadium and through their website.
"What an honor," Gonzalez said. "I'm kind of telling them, 'Hey, not too much.' I just don't want it to distract myself or any of my teammates. But I'm honored by it. It's a humbling thing and I'm really appreciative."
Gonzalez said he'll have about 15 family members at the game, including his wife, 9-year-old son, parents and several cousins.
"I'm going to get hit in the pocket, but it's worth it," he said.
Actually, Gonzalez's biggest expense will be flying in two fans from Ohio who won a contest he ran on Twitter to commemorate his 1,000th catch. In addition to airfare, they'll get tickets to the game, a hotel room for two nights, a rental car, an autographed football and a pair of gloves that he wears in the game.
"It's a nice deal. Maybe too nice," Gonzalez joked.
The 10-time Pro Bowler became the first tight end in NFL history to reach 1,000 catches in a 15-9 overtime loss at Pittsburgh. He finished with two receptions, leaving him at 1,001 for his career.
"It's definitely special," he said. "I never thought I'd be on that list, ever. Even up until three or four years ago, it seemed so far out of reach. I've just been lucky, really lucky. I've been around some great quarterbacks in some great systems, with some coordinators who really trusted me enough to get me the ball. I've just been lucky, too, to stay healthy. That's a big part of it."