Kansas City, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - Tight end Tony Gonzalez made it official on Monday, announcing his retirement following 17 stellar seasons.
Gonzalez participated in his final game on Sunday, Atlanta's 21-20 defeat at the hands of the NFC South champion Carolina Panthers, having posted four catches for 46 yards. That gave him 83 receptions for 859 yards and eight touchdowns in 16 games this past season for the Falcons.
"It went exactly as I thought it would go ... except for the win," Gonzalez said of his last time on an NFL field. "I'm so flattered and so thankful that I've been a part of this organization for the last five years. My career has turned out to be something more than I ever thought and more than I ever dreamed."
Originally a 13th-round pick of the Chiefs back in 1997, Gonzalez made his debut for Kansas City later that year. He departed following the 2008 campaign having totaled team records of 916 catches, 10,940 yards and 76 touchdowns, along with 26 games of at least 100 yards receiving. The California product exits the game as the lone tight end in NFL annals to produce four 1,000-yard receiving seasons.
"On behalf of the entire Chiefs family, I want to congratulate Tony on an incredible career," Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said. "What he was able to accomplish during his time in the NFL is truly remarkable, and I have no doubt that Tony is a first-ballot hall of famer. We were very blessed to have him in a Chiefs uniform for 12 seasons, and his contributions on and off the field were extraordinary and will never be forgotten. I want to thank Tony for his time in Kansas City and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors. He will always be considered a part of the Chiefs family."
All told, the 37-year-old native of southern California participated in 270 regular-season games (254 starts), and earned a Pro Bowl selection on 13 occasions. He set an NFL-record for catches by a tight end with 1,325 receptions for 15,127 yards and 111 TDs.