Sportress of Blogitude

Tony Gonzalez to receive a half-Chiefs, half-Falcons helmet signed by Roger Goodell on Sunday (photo)

tony-gonzalez-chiefs-falcons-helmet

By all indications, Sunday will be the last time Tony Gonzalez will put on pads and strap on a helmet as an NFL player when the Atlanta Falcons host the Carolina Panthers at the Georgia Dome.

Despite claiming he intended to retire at the end of the 2012 season, but a trip to the NFC Championship Game — a loss to the San Francisco 49ers– helped convince Gonzalez to come back for one more year in the hopes of making it to the Super Bowl.

In hindsight, the decision to come back for one more season was a mistake, as the Falcons stumbled out of the gate, going 1-4, and never recovered.

But in no way does that diminish what Gonzalez accomplished in his magnificent 17-year NFL career. Heading into Sunday’s career swan song, Gonzalez has hauled in 1,321 receptions, amassed 15,071 receiving yards and pulled down 111 touchdowns, stats that assure the tight end is a sure-fire first ballot Hall of Famer.

To commemorate Gonzalez’s final game and pay tribute to an unbelievable career, Gonzalez will be presented with a helmet. One-half is a Kansas City Chiefs helmet — the team which he spent the first twelve seasons of his career, the other half a Falcons helmet.

The helmet is signed by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and bears the message, “Tony — The Best!”

There’s simply no arguing with that sentiment, that’s for sure.

(image via @Atlanta_Falcons)