Reflecting on Tony Gonzalez

ATLANTA -- If Sunday really was the end of the road for Atlanta tight end Tony Gonzalez, and he sure made it sound like he’s about to retire, it’s time for some reflection.

At just about every other position, you can sit and argue for days, weeks, months or years about who is the best ever. And usually you can’t even come to a universal agreement.

But that’s not the case with Gonzalez. When you talk about the greatest tight end ever, the conversation starts and ends with Gonzalez.

Just on the off chance you still need some convincing, let’s turn to ESPN Stats & Information to show you why:

  • Gonzalez has the most receptions (1,242) ever by a tight end. Shannon Sharpe is second with 815. Gonzalez is second in receptions by any player, trailing only Jerry Rice (1,549).

  • Gonzalez has more receiving yards (14,268) than any tight end. Sharpe is second with 10,060. Gonzalez ranks seventh on the all-time list for receiving yards.

  • His 103 receiving touchdowns are the most ever for a tight end. Antonio Gates is next with 83. Gonzalez is sixth among all NFL players in history in receiving touchdowns.

  • Gonzalez was selected to his 13th Pro Bowl this season. Only Bruce Matthews (14) had more Pro Bowl selections.

  • Gonzalez was selected first-team All-Pro six times.

If this really is the end, there’s still one more honor coming for Gonzalez. It will come in five years when he will be a certain first-ballot selection to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.