- Vaughn McClure, ESPN Staff Writer
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"Kind of when they showed him on the JumboTron ... I don't think you have a more humble guy, too," the Atlanta Falcons quarterback said of his Hall of Fame-bound tight end. "With all that he's accomplished, he was embarrassed to be on the big screen. But he's been awesome to play with."
Gonzalez signaled the thumbs up to the crowd after he became the fifth player in NFL history with 15,000 receiving yards. He joined Jerry Rice, Terell Owens, Randy Moss, and Isaac Bruce in the elite category and now has 15,008 career receiving yards.
"That was cool," Gonzalez said of his latest achievement. "It's special. Every time I get a catch now, it seems like they're saying something like that's this or that's another milestone. I guess that's what happens when you get old, when you're playing as long as I am. But I'll take it."
Gonzalez scored on a 13-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter to mark his third-consecutive game with a touchdown catch. He also extended his streak of consecutive games with a reception to 209 while catching a team-leading six passes for 62 yards on Sunday.
"He's unbelievable. He really is," Ryan said of Gonzalez. "His consistency for 17 years in this league is incredibly impressive. There's no shortcut to it. There's no mystery to it. Tony works as hard as anybody I've ever been around, and he's blessed with a lot of talent as well."
Gonzalez will retire after the Falcons conclude the season Dec. 29 at home against Carolina. Ryan was asked if folks might try to convince Gonzalez to stick around one more year.
"He could definitely do it, if he wanted to, that's for sure," Ryan said. "But, no, I think we all know it's coming to an end. But it's been a great ride."