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Record-setting Tony Gonzalez retires from NFL

Dec. 30, 2013 at 4:01 PM   |   Comments

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ATLANTA, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- Tony Gonzalez, who set several records as a tight end over 17 seasons, announced his retirement from the NFL Monday.

Gonzalez, 37, caught four passes for 46 yards in Atlanta's season-ending 21-20 loss to Carolina. He finished the year with 83 receptions for 859 yards and eight touchdowns. Both were second-best on the Falcons this season.

That pushed his NFL-record totals for receptions by a tight end to 1,325 catches for 15,127 yards and 111 touchdowns. His reception total is second most all-time for any position to Jerry Rice (1,549) and he has the fifth-most receiving yards and sixth-most touchdowns.

The Kansas City Chiefs made Gonzalez the 13th overall pick in the 1997 draft and he had 10 Pro Bowl seasons before leaving for the Falcons before the 2009 season.

He was selected to the Pro Bowl three times while with the Falcons.

Atlanta Coach Mike Smith had Gonzalez address the Falcons prior to Sunday's game. Gonzalez said he told his teammates to learn from a season that ended with a 4-12 record.

"That's what I wanted to stress to those guys, use this year," Gonzalez said on the Falcons' website. "Make it count for something because the sky's the limit. There's so much talent on this team, and looking forward if they figure it out, how to work the right way, which I think they will because the core group of guys do that, guys like Matt [Ryan], Julio ([Jones], guys like a couple of the defensive players.

"It's a big deal. It's a big deal and it's going to make this organization great."

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