Tony Gonzalez says this season will be his last in the NFL. And this time he means it.
The 37-year-old Gonzalez placed the odds on his retirement after last season at 95 percent, then said during the playoffs that he was "97 percent" certain he'd hang 'em up after 2012. He obviously changed his mind along the way to 2013, opting to return for a fifth season with the Falcons and a 17th season overall.
But he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he's prepared to walk away for good once this current campaign ends.
“You can’t keep chasing it,” Gonzalez said. “You can’t. I’ve chased it long enough. I’ve tried and I think I’ve chased it about three or four years longer than I thought I would. This is it.
“I’m going to enjoy it no matter what happens and go play my heart out every week. Hopefully, we’ll turn this thing around.
“I don’t want to be in that position where I’m even thinking about coming back because we are not having a successful season. This is something that I still think we have a very good football team and we can turn this thing around hopefully.”
The Falcons currently sit 1-3 -- definitely not what Gonzalez or the team expected after a run to the NFC title game in 2012. That performance included a 30-28 divisional round win over the Seahawks, the first playoff victory of Gonzalez's storied career.
The Hall of Fame is a virtual certainty for Gonzalez down the line, despite his lack of postseason success. He no doubt would love to remedy that one subpar area of his resume, though. Which means the Falcons need to start winning soon, because Gonzalez -- at least for the moment -- sounds ready to call it a career. GALLERY: Biggest retirements in sports in 2013