- Vaughn McClure, ESPN Staff Writer
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GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Tony Gonzalez trade rumors are sure to gather full steam again over the next few days.
The Atlanta Falcons tight end was adamant about sticking it out with the team regardless of how his final NFL season played out. Well, Sunday’s 27-13 loss to the Arizona Cardinals all but ended the Falcons' playoff hopes, .
In other words, if Gonzalez wanted to finish his career with a Super Bowl ring, his chances of getting one with the Falcons just went from slim to none.
The trade deadline is Tuesday afternoon, and both Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff and coach Mike Smith said they had no desire to move Gonzalez. Plus, Gonzalez said he would not approach the Falcons seeking a trade, a stance he reiterated after Sunday’s game to a reporter from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. (Gonzalez did not address the media in the locker room, which is his typical routine following a win or loss.)
It’s understandable why folks continue to link his name to trade rumors. His former team, the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs, would take him back with open arms. Players and management in Kansas City have made that pretty clear.
Would Gonzalez be perceived as a traitor, especially after the Falcons gave him a pass during training camp? Not if the team decided it was best to allow him to pursue his goal before hanging up his cleats. In fact, it might be viewed as an admirable move on the Falcons’ part. Then again, Smith said talk of trading Gonzalez was "preposterous," so it would make the Falcons look deceptive if a trade happened.
No matter how the saga unfolds, I’ll go back to the words Gonzalez uttered in the locker room a few weeks back, when he vowed not to "jump ship" on the Falcons.
"I would never go and ask [the Falcons] for a trade," Gonzalez said that day. "And if that's something that they wanted to do to help their franchise, that's up to them. But it wouldn't be coming from me.
"Like I said, I came back to play with these guys. I have great relationships with these guys. ... These guys are friends that I'll call for the rest of my life. Like I said, I'm not going to jump ship. I'm not saying, 'Things are bad around here, so I'm out of here.'"
At 2-5, things couldn't be much worse.