Tony Gonzalez (American football)
Tony Gonzalez at the 2005 Pro Bowl.
|Date of birth:February 27, 1976|
|Place of birth: Torrance, California|
|High school: Huntington Beach (CA)|
|NFL Draft: 1997 / Round: 1 / Pick: 13|
|Debuted in 1997 for the Kansas City Chiefs|
|Last played in 2013 for the Atlanta Falcons|
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Anthony David Gonzalez (born February 27, 1976) is a former American football tight end for the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the University of California, Berkeley, and was recognized as a consensus All-American. He was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the first round of the 1997 NFL Draft. Gonzalez, a fourteen-time Pro Bowl selection, currently holds the NFL records for touchdown receptions (111) and total reception yards (15,127) by a tight end. Gonzalez is also known for his durability, missing only two games in his seventeen-year career. Since the start of the 2000 season Gonzalez had 1,145 receptions and only one fumble, making him one of the most sure handed players of all time. He is currently a studio analyst for The NFL Today.
- 1 Early years
- 2 College career
- 3 Professional career
- 4 Post NFL career
- 5 Personal life
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Gonzalez was born in Torrance, California, and was raised by his mother, Judy, who worked two jobs to support her sons. According to a Sports Illustrated article, Gonzalez comes from a very diverse family; his father being of Cape Verdean, Jamaican,and Scottish descent, and his mother's family being of African American, Caucasian, Cuban and Native American ancestry. Gonzalez attended Huntington Beach High School in Huntington Beach, California, where he lettered in football, baseball, and basketball.
As a senior, he caught 62 passes for 945 yards and 13 touchdowns and was a first-team All America selection at both tight end and linebacker. Playing basketball, he was named Orange County and Sunset League MVP as he averaged 26 points per game.
Gonzalez chose to attend the University of California, Berkeley, where he majored in communications and played both football and basketball. As a member of the California Golden Bears football team, he played tight end under future NFL coach Steve Mariucci. Gonzalez was also an All-Pac-10 and All-America selection.
Gonzalez also continued his basketball career at Cal. His junior year he played in 28 games, averaging 6.8 points and 5.4 rebounds per game as California made it to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Basketball Tournament.
Eventually, Gonzalez had to choose between basketball and football. On the difficulty of the transition between the two, Tony said "you get done playing football and then you transition to basketball [which] had already been going for a month," but ultimately "the decision was pretty much made for me..."
Gonzalez decided to forego his final year of eligibility to declare for the NFL Draft.
College football statistics
College basketball statistics
1997 NFL draft
Gonzalez was ranked as one of the top tight ends in the 1997 NFL Draft and was considered a top 15 selection. The Chiefs traded up from the 18th to the 13th selection with the Houston Oilers to draft Gonzalez.
Kansas City Chiefs
Gonzalez began his career in 1997. He finished his rookie season with 33 receptions, two touchdowns and a blocked punt on special teams, helping the Chiefs to finish with the best record in the American Football Conference (AFC). In the 1998 season, Gonzalez saw dramatic improvements with 59 receptions for 621 yards, and also caught two touchdown passes for the second consecutive year.
In 1999 season saw Gonzalez again improving when he caught 76 passes for 849 yards and a career high 11 touchdown receptions, earning his first Pro Bowl selection. From 2000 to 2006, Gonzalez was the most productive tight end in the NFL. During this time he averaged 79 receptions, 968 yards, and 6.5 touchdowns per season and was elected to the Pro Bowl every year. His best season statistically came in 2004, when he caught an NFL record (for a tight end) 102 passes for 1,258 yards and seven touchdowns. Gonzalez's single-season record of 102 receptions by a tight end stood for 8 years, until it was broken by Jason Witten during the 2012 season.
Starting late in 2006, Gonzalez began to close in on numerous team and league receiving records. In 2006, Gonzalez broke wide receiver Otis Taylor's Chiefs team receiving yards and touchdowns mark, and also passed running back Priest Holmes for the team yards from scrimmage record.
In 2007, Gonzalez continued his productivity in spite of the generally poor play of the Chiefs' offense. Though the Chiefs finished at or near the bottom in most major offensive categories, Gonzalez led the Chiefs and all NFL tight ends in receptions (99) and receiving yards (1,172) while being named to his ninth straight Pro Bowl.
On October 14, 2007, Gonzalez broke the career touchdown reception record for tight ends previously held by Shannon Sharpe, as well as passing Ozzie Newsome for second in career receiving yards for a tight end. On December 23, 2007, Gonzalez recorded his third season with 1,000 receiving yards, tying him with Kellen Winslow, Todd Christensen and Shannon Sharpe for most ever by a tight end, and on December 30, 2007, Gonzalez passed Shannon Sharpe for most receptions all time by a tight end.
In week 4 of the 2008 season, Gonzalez became NFL all time leader in reception yards for a tight end with 10,064, surpassing Shannon Sharpe. He recorded 96 receptions for 1,058 yards and was also elected to his tenth career Pro Bowl despite Kansas City starting 3 different quarterbacks. In October 2008, Gonzalez asked to be traded to a Super Bowl contending team, but then-general manager Carl Peterson stated that no playoff-contending team made a good enough offer.
During the 2009 offseason Gonzalez again approached Chiefs management about a possible trade. Unlike the previous Chiefs management, new Chiefs' GM Scott Pioli told Gonzalez he would see what he could do.
Gonzalez was traded to the Atlanta Falcons in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft on April 23, 2009. In his first regular season game with Atlanta against the Miami Dolphins, Gonzalez caught a touchdown pass from Matt Ryan and became the 21st player, and the first tight end, in NFL history with 11,000 receiving yards. He finished the game leading the Falcons in receiving with five receptions for 73 yards and one touchdown, his 20-yard touchdown reception marking only the third time he scored in the opening game of the season. Although Gonzalez recorded 83 receptions for 867 yards and 6 touchdowns, his total stats went down from the previous years in Kansas City, and Gonzalez was not invited to the Pro Bowl for the first time in 10 years.
In the 2010 regular season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Gonzalez made his 1,000th career reception, making him the seventh player in NFL history to do so and the first tight end. Gonzalez had his best performance as a Falcon two weeks later against the defending Super Bowl champions New Orleans Saints, as caught eight catches for 110 yards and a touchdown to help lead Atlanta to an overtime victory. His play in 2010 helped him return to the Pro Bowl that year. The Falcons also finished 13-3 that season to earn the first-seed in the playoffs; in Gonzalez first playoff game in five years, the Falcons were defeated by the eventual Super Bowl champions Green Bay Packers.
During the NFL lockout in 2011, Gonzalez contemplated retiring rather than sitting out an entire season and waiting to play in 2012. After the lockout was eventually lifted by the league, Gonzalez was adamant he had at least three seasons left in him and was excited at the prospects of returning to the Falcons who are widely considered to be Super Bowl contenders.
With Gonzalez's contract set to expire following the conclusion of the 2011 season, he signed a 1 year $7 million contract extension with the Falcons on January 1, 2012 indicating his intent to return for at least one season. In the 2012 season opener, Gonzalez played in Arrowhead Stadium against the Chiefs for the first time in his career which ended with a Falcons' victory. Gonzalez caught his 100th career touchdown on November 11, 2012, in a week 10 game against the New Orleans Saints, becoming the only tight end in NFL history to catch 100 TD passes. On January 13, 2013, Gonzalez won the first playoff game of his career when the Falcons defeated the Seattle Seahawks 30-28.
Throughout the 2012 season, he insisted on retiring. But on March 12, 2013, on his Twitter page, he said, "I'm happy to say that after speaking with my family, I'm coming back." Then, later that day, he posted,"The lure of being on such a great team and organization, along with unbelievable fan support was too good to pass up."
On March 15, 2013, Gonzalez agreed to re-sign with the Falcons to a two-year, $14 million contract, despite his claim that he would be retiring after the 2012 season. Gonzalez played his final NFL game against the Carolina Panthers on December 29. He would later be named a second alternate for the Pro Bowl that season, and was added to the roster when San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis declined the invitation. It was his 14th and final Pro Bowl appearance, tying him with Bruce Matthews and Merlin Olsen for the most selections for the game.
- First Tight End to reach 15,000 Receiving Yards
- Career receiving yards for a tight end (15,127)
- Career receptions for a tight end (1,325)
- Career TD receptions for a tight end (111)
- Most seasons with 1,000+ receiving yards by a tight end (4)
- Most consecutive seasons with 2+ touchdowns (17) – 1997–2013
- Most consecutive seasons with 2+ touchdown receptions (17) – 1997–2013
- Most consecutive seasons with 20+ receptions (17) – 1997–2013
- Most consecutive seasons with 30+ receptions (17) – 1997–2013
- Most consecutive seasons with 40+ receptions (16) – 1998–2013
- Most consecutive seasons with 50+ receptions (16) – 1998–2013
- Most consecutive seasons with 60+ receptions (15) – 1999–2013
- Most consecutive seasons with 70+ receptions (11) – 2003–2013
- Most seasons with 70+ receptions (14) – 1999–2001, 2003-2013
- Most consecutive seasons with 500+ yards receiving (16) – 1998–2013
- Most consecutive seasons with 600+ yards receiving (16) – 1998–2013
- Most consecutive starts by a tight end (120)
- Most Pro Bowl selections (14)
- Pro Bowl All-Time leader in Receptions (42)
- Pro Bowl All-Time leader in Touchdowns (6)
- Second most receptions in a career
- Second most consecutive games with a reception (211)
Post NFL career
In early 2007, Gonzalez suffered a bout of facial paralysis known as Bell's Palsy. Gonzalez subsequently experimented with a vegan diet after reading The China Study, by Cornell professor and nutrition researcher T. Colin Campbell, but he and his nutritionist, Mitzi Dulan, ultimately decided that eating meat occasionally would be best for his performance. Gonzalez only eats organic fruits and vegetables, free-range chicken, grass fed beef (no more than 18 ounces a month), and fish. Tony is very active with the Kidney Foundation because his best friend is recovering from kidney disease.
Gonzalez had a commitment ceremony in July 2007 with his girlfriend, October, and is married. Gonzalez has three children, a daughter and a son, Malia and River, with his wife and a son, Nikko, from a previous relationship with entertainment reporter Lauren Sánchez. He lives in Huntington Beach, California.
On July 3, 2008, while dining with his family at Capone's Restaurant in Huntington Beach, Gonzalez noticed fellow diner Ken Hunter choking on a piece of meat at a nearby table, unable to breathe. Gonzalez successfully administered the Heimlich Maneuver to Hunter, saving his life. After the incident, it was revealed that Hunter was a fan of the San Diego Chargers, who are a rival team of the Chiefs in the AFC West.
He was the grand marshal of the 2014 Huntington Beach Fourth of July Parade.
Along with playing in the NFL, Tony Gonzalez has been involved in a number of business ventures. While playing for the Chiefs, he co-founded Extreme Clean 88, a commercial cleaning service in Kansas City. While in Kansas City, Tony Gonzalez also contributed to Shadow Buddies, a charity that works with hospitalized children.
In 2009, Gonzalez co-authored the book, The All-Pro Diet. The book, co-written with Mitzi Dulan, the former nutritionist for the Chiefs, details his diet and workout routine and provides practical suggestions for others to follow the same path.
Later in 2009, Gonzalez co-founded All-Pro Science, a sports nutrition company that manufactures a complete line of protein shakes, vitamins and other supplements. The products in the APS line follow a similar philosophy to the one set forth in Gonzalez's book, focusing on a balance of foods from all-natural sources.
Since 2013, Tony has been working with FitStar,  a company that makes mobile fitness apps, helping people get in shape with customized workouts delivered via the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. He appears in FitStar Personal Trainer,  leading users through personalized Sessions.
- Arliss (2000)
- The Jersey (2000)
- Married to the Kellys (2004)
- Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Kansas City Chiefs (2007)
- Oprah Winfrey's The Big Give (2008) - Judge
- One Tree Hill (2010)
- "Gonzalez on Pro-Football-Reference". rbref.com. Retrieved 2007-12-21.
- Winslow, Jonathan (July 3, 2014). "Parade grand marshal at long last". Huntington Beach Wave (The Orange County Register). p. 2.
- "Tony Gonzalez, #88, Tight End, Kansas City Chiefs". Archived from the original on 2008-07-31. Retrieved 2008-08-21.
- "Tony Gonzalez". NFL.com. Retrieved 2007-10-22.
- "Why Tony Gonzalez Chose Football Over Basketball" STACK.com, 2010-01-02
- Tucker, Doug (1997-04-19). "Chiefs grab Gonzalez with first pick". Retrieved 2008-08-20.
- "Jason Witten of Dallas Cowboys sets NFL mark for TE catches - ESPN Dallas". Espn.go.com. 2012-12-23. Retrieved 2013-03-28.
- Weiberg, Steve (2007-10-14). "Gonzalez grabs TD record as Chiefs get back to .500". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2008-08-21.
- "Gonzalez breaks tight ends record for most catches". Associated Press. 2007-12-30. Retrieved 2008-08-21.
- Gonzalez requested trade in October of 2008[dead link]
- "Chiefs trade Tony Gonzalez to Falcons". USA Today. April 22, 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-23.
- Falcons-Dolphins Game Notes[dead link]
- "Watch Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints 09/26/2010". NFL.com. Retrieved 2013-03-28.
- Clifton Brown (2011-03-31). "Lockout has Tony Gonzalez pondering future - NFL - Sporting News". Aol.sportingnews.com. Retrieved 2013-03-28.
- "Atlanta Falcons news". www.ajc.com. Retrieved 2013-03-28.
- "Tony Gonzalez signs contract extension with Falcons". Kansascity.com.
- "CHIEFS REGULAR SEASON OPPONENTS DETERMINED FOR 2012". KCChiefs.com.
- "Atlanta Falcons withstand Seattle Seahawks' furious rally to advance". NFL.com.
- "Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons agree to $14M contract". NFL.com. March 15, 2013. Retrieved 2013-03-18.
- Roth, Tobias (December 28, 2013). "Tony Gonzalez Will Play His Final NFL Game On Sunday". WebProNews. Retrieved 2013-12-29.
- "Tony Gonzalez added to Pro Bowl".
- "Tony Gonzalez joins 'The NFL Today' as CBS Sports analyst in 2014". CBSSports.com.
- "New Information about NFL's Tony Gonzalez". Christian Vegetarian Association website. Retrieved 2008-11-30.
- Gonzalez, Tony (2009). The All-Pro Diet: Lose Fat, Build Muscle, and Live Like a Champion. Rodale Books. p. 256. ISBN 1-60529-951-0.
- Dean, Rick (2008-06-09). "Newborn gives KC star new outlook". Retrieved 2012-08-02.
- "Chiefs' Gonzalez saves man from choking to death". Associated Press. 2008-07-08. Retrieved 2008-08-20.
- Tiger Woods, Magic Johnson Among Stars at Inaguration SI.com, January 21, 2009
- Extreme Clean 88 Retrieved 2010-09-07.
- Shadow Buddies Retrieved 2010-09-07.
- Atlanta Falcons Tight End Tony Gonzalez Joins Forces with All Pro Science, Inc. PRWeb, November 24, 2009.
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