Football Players

NFL Player Profiles Tony Gonzalez

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From a very early age it became apparent to anyone that viewed Tony Gonzalez playing sports that his future would be in the professional ranks, either as a football or basketball player. Born on February 27, 1976, Gonzalez attended Huntington Beach High School and excelled at both sports - named as an All-American in football as a tight end and linebacker,  and named Orange County Most Valuable Player in basketball. Offered a bevy of athletic scholarships to attend major universities, Tony Gonzalez opted to attend the University of California following high school graduation.

At Cal, Gonzalez quickly became a star both on the football field and the basketball court. After several solid seasons Gonzalez exploded into the national spotlight during his junior season catching 92 passes good for 982 yards and an incredible 23 touchdowns for the Golden Bears. The same year on the basketball court Gonzalez averaged 6.8 points per game and 5.4 rebounds in helping to lead Cal to an appearance in the NCAA Tournament that resulted in a trip to the "Sweet Sixteen". Seizing the opportunity at hand, Gonzalez decided to forgo his senior year and enter the NFL Draft.

Selected by the Kansas City Chiefs with the 13th pick in the 1st round of the 1997 NFL Draft, Gonzalez has a decent rookie season with 33 catches good for 368 yards and 2 touchdowns. From 1998 until the present Gonzalez has 12 straight seasons of over 50 catches with over 1,000 yards receiving in 4 different years. Traded to the Atlanta Falcons in April 2009, Gonzalez continued his superior play by catching 83 passes for 867 yards and 6 touchdowns. For his career Tony Gonzalez has amassed 994 receptions, 11,807 yards, 82 touchdowns and holds nearly every major NFL record for tight ends in a career.

Tony Gonzalez has been named to 10 Pro Bowls and has been appointed an All-Pro 6 times in his career, in addition to being named to the NFL's 2000's All-Decade Team. Still performing at a high level, it would be safe to assume that the career records of Tony Gonzalez will stand as a benchmark for tight ends for some time to come.

While being a fan favorite on the field for his outstanding play, Tony Gonzalez has been a positive role model off the field as well. Gonzalez has contributed his personal resources to a number of charitable organizations, most notably the Kidney Foundation.

More about this author: Thom W. Conroy

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