Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFL Nation [Print without images]

Thursday, October 11, 2012
Perspective on Tony Gonzalez's fast start

By Pat Yasinskas

We’ve talked a lot about how Atlanta tight end Tony Gonzalez seems ageless.

At 36, he leads the NFL with 39 receptions through five games. With some help from ESPN Stats & Information, let’s put some historical perspective on that.

The 39 receptions through five games are the most in NFL history -- by far -- by a player 36 or older.

Jerry Rice and Terrell Owens are tied for the next spot on the list with 31 catches. Rice did that in 2002, when he was 39. Owens did it in 2010, when he was 36. The fourth-best start in history, also belongs to Rice -- 25 receptions to start the 2001 season. The top five is rounded out by Tim Brown, who had 24 catches through five games in 2002.

Gonzalez also is one touchdown short of becoming the eighth player in NFL history with 100 receiving touchdowns. He currently is tied with Don Hutson with 99 touchdown catches. The next touchdown catch by Gonzalez will put him into a tie with Brown and Steve Largent.