The Atlanta Falcons do not begin their voluntary offseason program until April 24 and while the team wants veteran tight end Tony Gonzalez to return, there is no pressure for him to make a decision.
Gonzalez indicated at the end of the season that he was 95 percent certain he was done playing. But the NFL’s all-time leading receiver at the position left the window cracked for a return and the Falcons have already made it be known they are going to lobby Gonzalez to suit up again in 2013 after the team fell just short of a trip to the Super Bowl.
According to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the team wants to allow Gonzalez to reach a conclusive decision on his own.
“I don’t that there is anything concrete in terms of a timetable,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said, according to the report. “But I think that conversation will take place. I had a conversation with him the week after the season and we’ll probably have another here real soon.”
Smith said the club will have to perform its “due diligence” scouting the position beginning next week at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Of course, the Falcons will. It wouldn’t hurt to find a young player at the position to groom behind Gonzalez.
While Smith said there isn’t a defined timetable, there is no doubt the Falcons would like a decision from Gonzalez before the draft and preferably before the opening of free agency in order for the club to set offseason priorities. It’s likely the Falcons would take Gonzalez back at any time, but knowing before free agency kicks off March 12 would be most helpful.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune