FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Even if Kansas City Chiefs general manager John Dorsey is willing to trade draft picks in order to bring back cult figure Tony Gonzalez, don’t expect the Atlanta Falcons to be willing to deal the veteran tight end.
Falcons coach Mike Smith addressed the sudden media-and-fan-driven Gonzalez trade speculation following Wednesday’s practice.
“That’s preposterous that Tony would be traded,” Smith told ESPN.com. “He’s an integral part of our offense and has been since he’s been here. And he’s having another Hall of Fame season.
“In my mind, the last two weeks have been maybe his best two games since he’s been here. So he’s an integral part — and will continue to be — to the success we’re going to have.”
The trade rumors were fueled by recent radio interview comments made by both Dorsey and Chiefs cornerback Brandon Flowers. According to the Kansas City Star, a radio show host asked Dorsey what Gonzalez’s trade value would be.
“I’d give him a spot up in that stadium one day,” Dorsey said, according the newspaper.
Asked if he would give up a draft pick, Dorsey said he is frugal with his picks. Pressed on whether that meant “no” to surrendering picks for Gonzalez, Dorsey’s response, according to the newspaper, was the following:
“No, it’s not a no. We have to analyze each situation. That’s kind of what that is.”
The NFL trade deadline is Oct. 29 at 4 p.m. ET.
The 37-year-old Gonzalez came back for one more season with hopes of ending his career as a Super Bowl champion. The Falcons’ 1-4 start and the loss of star receiver Julio Jones have left some wondering if Gonzalez would want to be traded to a contender. The Chiefs are 5-0.
Gonzalez told Fox Sports he has no desire to be traded. He was unavailable for comment during Wednesday’s open locker-room session.
Gonzalez started his career with the Chiefs in 1997. He was traded to Atlanta in 2009 in exchange for a second-round draft pick.
Smith emphasized that this is not yet a lost season for Gonzalez and the Falcons, who have a bye this week.
“We are still in this,” Smith said. “There are still 11 games to be played, a lot of football to be played. We’re focusing on us and focusing on what we have to do to get a win. We can’t look beyond our next opponent. And right now, our opponent is the Atlanta Falcons this week. And next week, we’ll start focusing on Tampa Bay.”
Gonzalez is the Falcons’ second-leading receiver with 33 catches for 339 yards. He leads the team with three touchdown receptions.
With Jones ruled out for the remainder of the season due to a foot injury, Gonzalez’s role becomes that much more important.
“There are always things out there, always different rumors or whatever. I just know Tony, and I’m happy that he’s here,” Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said. “The production that he’s brought to us has been awesome.”
Ryan emphasized how much Gonzalez means to the Falcons.
“Obviously, we know he’s such a big part of what we do offensively,” Ryan said. “He has been for the last five years. He’s been unbelievable for us. He’s been doing a great job. And I expect him to keep doing a great job for us.”
The Falcons moved quickly to bolster their wide receiver corps after losing Jones, signing veteran Brian Robiskie, son of wide receiver coach Terry Robiskie to a one-year deal, multiple league sources told ESPN.
The 6-foot-4, 212-pound Robiskie has the type of size to fill the role of a big receiver. He was a second-round pick of the Cleveland Browns in 2009 following a stellar career at Ohio State. He started 14 games in three seasons with the Browns.
Information from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter was used in this report.
- Covered Bears for seven seasons at Chicago Tribune
- Also worked at Chicago Sun-Times, Fresno Bee
- Honorable mention, Football Writers Association of America for enterprise writing, 2002