Sunday, October 5, 2008
Gonzalez sets NFL record for yards receiving by tight end
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Tony Gonzalez got his record, but not much else.
The Kansas City star broke the NFL's career mark for yards receiving by a tight end Sunday, but finished with just three catches for 17 yards in a 34-0 loss to the Carolina Panthers.
"This is a game that a lot of us probably [would] just as soon forget," Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez entered the game 3 yards shy of Shannon Sharpe's 5-year-old record of 10,060 yards. He surpassed the mark on Kansas City's second offensive series by catching a 6-yard pass from Damon Huard late in the first quarter.
The 12th-year pro and nine-time Pro Bowler has at least one reception in 120 straight games.
But neither Gonzalez nor the Chiefs could get much else going offensively against the Panthers' physical defense.
"It's bittersweet -- I'm happy for it, don't get me wrong," Gonzalez said. "It took a long time to get [the record], and I've been very fortunate to be around some good offensive coordinators ... great quarterbacks. It's just been a long time, and I'm very fortunate to be able to last that long. So I'm going to take it, take it in stride -- I'm happy for it. But I wish, obviously, if it could have come in a different circumstance, it probably would have been a lot better."
He had just one other catch during a rough first half, a 3-yard dumpoff from Huard midway through the second quarter. He was thrown to just two other times during the half, and Kansas City trailed 21-0 at the break with 28 net yards and one first down.
"We get behind like we did, we're at our best when we're able to be balanced -- running, throwing the football," Huard said. "When you get behind early, you become one-dimensional, and we just couldn't overcome being down 21-0."
Gonzalez wound up with his fewest yards receiving since he also had 17 yards on three catches on Dec. 16, 2007, in a 26-17 loss to Tennessee, yet bumped up his career total to 10,074 yards.
The record was greeted by polite applause from the crowd in Charlotte -- a far different scene than Gonzalez originally expected.
"It takes a little bit off the record because of the way we got it," Gonzalez said. "Maybe tomorrow, the next day, I'll feel a little better about it."
He wanted to set the mark last week in front of the home fans against Denver; a dozen family members were at Arrowhead Stadium hoping to see history and venue officials had planned to stop the game to honor Gonzalez. The tight end even lobbied his coaches to ask for the ball upon learning he was 3 yards from Sharpe's mark.
But the Chiefs kept the ball on the ground in the final minutes of that 33-19 victory, leading a disappointed Gonzalez to discuss the issue with coach Herm Edwards, who said he didn't want to risk a throw that late in the game.