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Chiefs praise former TE Tony Gonzalez's retirement

By DAVE SKRETTA

Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo.-- Even though Tony Gonzalez is retiring as a member of the Atlanta Falcons, the Kansas City Chiefs still view the 13-time Pro Bowl tight end as one of their own.

One day after Gonzalez reaffirmed that he'll never play another NFL game, Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said in a statement that he'll "always be considered a part of the Chiefs family."

Gonzalez was drafted by the Chiefs and spent his first 12 seasons in Kansas City. He was traded to the Falcons in 2009, when it appeared that Atlanta was going to give him a better shot at playing in the Super Bowl that eluded Gonzalez his entire career.

At halftime of his final game Sunday, Gonzalez was presented with a half Chiefs, half Falcons commemorative helmet. Atlanta wound up losing 21-20 to the Carolina Panthers.

"On behalf of the entire Chiefs family, I want to congratulate Tony on an incredible career," Hunt said. "What he was able to accomplish during his time in the NFL is truly remarkable, and I have no doubt that Tony is a first-ballot Hall of Famer. We were very blessed to have him in a Chiefs uniform for 12 seasons, and his contributions on and off the field were extraordinary."

Gonzalez pondered retirement last season, but after the Falcons came up just 10 yards short in the NFC title game, he put it off to make one more run at the Super Bowl. Instead, an abundance of injuries, poor offensive line play and a defense prone to big plays resulted in a 4-12 finish and a hollow ending to Gonzalez's brilliant playing career.

"Obviously it just wasn't in my cards, and I'm OK with that, honestly," Gonzalez said. "Don't ever look at me and say, 'Well, he never won the big game.' I hope there's no glitch on my record because of that, and if you think that way, I don't know what you're talking about. I really don't because this is the ultimate team sport."