Over the past 12 seasons, Tony Gonzalez has established himself as the greatest tight end in the history of the NFL.

Over the past 12 seasons, Tony Gonzalez has established himself as the greatest tight end in the history of the NFL.
He has more receptions, more yards and more touchdowns than any of the previous greats who starred at the position he redefined as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs.
He is a 10-time Pro Bowl player and arguably the most popular Chiefs player of the past decade.
But he never was able to achieve his greatest goal – bringing a championship trophy to the fans he loved – and the fans who loved him back.
That’s why his going-away news conference Tuesday morning at a downtown hotel was bittersweet and intriguing.
For the past two years, he has never shied away from questions about his desire to leave the Chiefs for a contender.
I never thought it would happen.
I figured Tony G would remain a Chiefs player for the remaining years of his career and go into the Hall of Fame wearing the hometown crimson and gold.
“I’m going to go on record right now saying I’m going to retire as a Chief,” Gonzalez said as his former Chiefs president and CEO Carl Peterson and former All-Pro teammate Tony Richardson stood in the back of the room with Gonzalez’s wife and infant daughter. “If I am ever fortunate enough to go into the Hall of Fame, it’s going to be as a Chief.”
But for the remaining years of his career, he’s going to be a member of the Atlanta Falcons as new Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli traded Gonzalez to the Falcons for a second-round pick in the 2010 draft.
Gonzalez kept his emotions in check during the half-hour news conference, jokingly saying, “I’m not retiring. I’m still playing. I’m just leaving a very special place – Kansas City.
“The only regrets I have are things I didn’t do. I really wish I could have been a part of something more special. I wanted to be a part of bringing a championship to this city.
Gonzalez rented Skies Restaurant for his final news conference, saying, “I could have had it at the stadium, but I didn’t want to be a distraction.”
Only one member of the Chiefs front office attended the news conference, and she deals with players appearances and community service work in the metro area.
“I wanted to come face-to-face with everybody and (say goodbye) the right way,” Gonzalez said. “I got here when I turned 21. I grew up in Kansas City.
“Leaving is going to be sad, real sad. I played for some of the best fans in Kansas City.”
But the team never won a playoff game during his Hall of Fame career. He was never able to hoist a championship trophy above his head like other Kansas City Hall of Famers Len Dawson and George Brett.
That’s why he’s leaving.
He is thrilled and scared to be joining a new team as he enters his 13th season in the NFL.
“I have to learn a new offense, meet my new teammates, find a place to live and learn a new freeway system,” he said, grinning. “But if this were fantasy football, on paper, the Falcons look like a team that could win it all.”
And that’s why he’s leaving.
He’s rich, better looking than most movie stars and has a drop-dead gorgeous wife. He has a home in sunny California and all the bling that goes with being the best in the business.
But he doesn’t have the bling that counts the most in the NFL – a Super Bowl ring.
“And getting a ring means everything to me,” he said. “I don’t need records, I just want to win, and win now. I told the Falcons I don’t need to have 95 catches and 10 touchdowns. I’m a competitive guy and I want to win.”