Tony Gonzalez: A tight end par ex­cel­lence

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - On Tv - BY GE­ORGE DICKIE

The old scout­ing re­ports were full of su­perla­tives

Ex­cel­lent hands. Makes catches in traf­fic. Runs well af­ter the catch. Hard worker. Leader.

These are the qual­i­ties of the man who would be­come ar­guably the great­est tight end in NFL his­tory, Tony Gonzalez, who this week joins safety Ed Reed, cen­ter Kevin Mawae, cor­ner­backs Champ Bai­ley and Ty Law and team ex­ec­u­tives Pat Bowlen and Gil Brandt as the new­est in­ductees into the Pro Foot­ball Hall of Fame when the en­shrine­ment cer­e­monies air live from Can­ton, Ohio, Sat­ur­day, Aug. 3, on ESPN.

There are cer­tainly the lau­rels to back up the ar­gu­ment. He’s the ca­reer leader for a tight end in re­cep­tions (1,325), most re­cep­tion yards (15,127), most sea­sons with 1,000-plus yards re­ceiv­ing (tied with four) and most con­sec­u­tive sea­sons with 70-plus re­cep­tions (11). Ad­di­tion­ally, he’s sec­ond on the all-time list for over­all re­ceiv­ing yards (be­hind Jerry Rice) and is tied for sec­ond for most con­sec­u­tive games with at least one re­cep­tion with 211. He also holds a slew of records with the Kansas City Chiefs, the team he played for from 1997-2008. And in his 17-year ca­reer (which also in­cluded a 2009-13 stint with the Atlanta Fal­cons), he missed only two games. Out of 272.

If there’s a blem­ish on his record, it’s the fact that he saw very lit­tle post­sea­son ac­tion, seven games in 17 years, and made no Su­per Bowl ap­pear­ances. But that is hardly a re­flec­tion on the player.

As far as his fans and Can­ton are con­cerned, Tony Gonzalez is one of the game’s greats and as of this week he’ll have the gold jacket to prove it.

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