Gonzalez won’t try to ‘jump ship’ on Falcons


FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez has not asked for a trade, and he won’t try to “jump ship” before finishing out his final NFL season.

Gonzalez addressed the media- and fan-driven trade speculation during open locker room Thursday.

Gonzalez I would never go and ask [the Falcons] for a trade. And if that’s something that they wanted to do to help their franchise, that’s up to them. But it wouldn’t be coming from me.

— Tony Gonzalez

“I’m still happy as I can be to be a Falcon,” Gonzalez said. “I know there were trade rumors out there. I didn’t ask for a trade. That wasn’t me. I signed up, and this is the team that … I came back to play with these guys on the team. And I’m enjoying myself, win, lose or draw.

“Obviously I’d rather win. It makes it a lot more fun. But there is no way I would think about jumping ship because I love playing for this team, I love playing for this city.”

Falcons coach Mike Smith previously told ESPN.com the idea of trading Gonzalez was “preposterous.”

Gonzalez will be Matt Ryan‘s top target with Julio Jones out for the season following foot surgery and Roddy White recovering from a hamstring injury. Gonzalez is the team’s second-leading receiver with 33 catches for 339 yards and a team-leading three touchdowns.

Gonzalez was pressed on whether he might be enticed to want to join a contender before the Oct. 29 trade deadline if the Falcons (1-4) continue to lose. The initial trade speculation was linked to the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs, Gonzalez’s former team.

“I would never go and ask [the Falcons] for a trade,” Gonzalez said. “And if that’s something that they wanted to do to help their franchise, that’s up to them. But it wouldn’t be coming from me.

“Like I said, I came back to play with these guys. I have great relationships with these guys. … These guys are friends that I’ll call for the rest of my life. Like I said, I’m not going to jump ship. I’m not saying, ‘Things are bad around here, so I’m out of here.'”

Gonzalez, who decided not to retire in order to chase an elusive Super Bowl ring this season, is still due a little over $4.5 million this season.

Although he received plenty of calls from friends and family members about the trade speculation, Gonzalez said he wasn’t fazed.

“That’s how it works,” he said. “That’s media and that’s fans. It’s fun for them to speculate and talk about that type of stuff. I really honestly didn’t pay too much mind to it. I guess there was an article that had me quoted from one of those fake websites. Like I said, it’s all fun.”

  • 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

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