Flowery Branch, GA (Sports Network) - Future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez said he was set to retire at the conclusion of the 2012 season, but he left the door open just a little after the Atlanta Falcons came close to a Super Bowl appearance.
Now, it's wide open.
Gonzalez, via Twitter, said he is set to come back for another run with the Falcons, who lost to San Francisco in the NFC title game last January.
"I'm happy to say that after speaking with my family, I'm coming back," Gonzalez wrote. "The lure of being on such a great team and organization, along with unbelievable fan support was too good to pass up. We have a great shot to get to the Super Bowl, RISE UP ATLANTA!"
Gonzalez, who just turned 37 years old last month, has spent the past four seasons with the Falcons and last year showed no signs of slowing down with 93 receptions for 930 yards and eight touchdowns in 16 games.
"We are very pleased that Tony has decided to come back for another season," said Falcons coach Mike Smith in a statement Tuesday. "He has been a key component to our success during his four years and it is great to have the opportunity to coach him for a fifth season. Tony is one of the hardest working players I have ever been around and it will be good to have his leadership and work ethic back in our locker room."
With 1,242 career receptions, he trails only Jerry Rice on the all-time list. He owns all the significant tight end records, including most career receiving yards (14,268), most receptions in a single season (102 in 2004) and most touchdown catches (103).
In four seasons with the Falcons, Gonzalez has recorded 326 receptions for 3,328 yards with 27 touchdowns.
"Tony has been vital to our success over the last four seasons and we are excited that he has decided to return for a fifth season," added Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff. "He is a great teammate and is a leader of our football team on the field and in the community. Tony leads by example and his professionalism has paid dividends across our entire organization, and we are very happy to have him as a member of our team."
Gonzalez spent his first 12 seasons with Kansas City and has missed just two games since being selected with the 13th overall pick of the 1997 draft.
03/12 14:59:28 ET