- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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NEW ORLEANS -- The retirement of Tony Gonzalez might not be as much of a done deal as the veteran tight end made it sound late in the season.
Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff admitted Thursday he is lobbying hard to convince Gonzalez to return.
"A guy who is 36 (years old) catching 100-plus balls (including the postseason), it just doesn't seem like it's time for him to move on," Dimitroff told ESPN.com while visiting the Super Bowl media center.
Dimitroff said he has conveyed that message to Gonzalez in very strong terms. Gonzalez said late in the season he was 95 percent sure he would retire. He even moved that figure up to 97 percent after the Falcons won a playoff game against Seattle. After losing the NFC Championship Game to San Francisco, Gonzalez said he still was leaning toward retirement.
Dimitroff made it clear the Falcons have made their pitch and everything now is up to Gonzalez.
"Tony's a man and he's got to make his own decision," Dimitroff said. "Suffice it to say that it's not going to be an easy decision for him one way or another because he knows that he still has fuel in the tank and it's very legitimate fuel in the tank."
Dimitroff said there is no firm timetable for a decision.
"We don't have a deadline at all," Dimitroff said. "But let's face it that it's important for us to know sooner rather than later because we have to move forward on all our decision-making."
6hEric D. Williams
1dBy Ian O'Connor