New Falcon Gonzalez says goal in Atlanta is 'to win the Super Bowl'
All-Pro tight end Tony Gonzalez Atlanta-bound 'to win the Super Bowl'
Gonzalez was acquired in a trade with Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday
Still-productive Gonzalez had 96 catches for 1,058 yards and 10 TDs in 2008
"I'm here for one reason, and that's to win the Super Bowl," the All-Pro tight end said Friday. "I haven't won a playoff game in my whole career. I want to come here, go to the playoffs and win playoff games. I want to go to the Super Bowl and win the Super Bowl. "
Acquired in a trade Thursday from Kansas City, Gonzalez reiterated that he will always keep the Chiefs first in his heart, but the five-time All-Pro quickly acknowledged that Atlanta offered him a better chance to compete for a championship.
"The feeling is mutual," Gonzalez said. "Kansas City is where I grew up. I'd just turned 21 when I got there. The last 12 years, it's just been great. I'm going to miss it, but I'm looking forward to being a part of what's happening here."
Atlanta, which last year had a rookie quarterback in Matt Ryan, a first-time head coach in Mike Smith and a first-time general manager in Thomas Dimitroff, is coming off an 11-6 season that ended with a wild-card loss at Arizona.
Meanwhile, Kansas City finished 2-14, lost founding owner Lamar Hunt to cancer, accepted the abrupt resignation of longtime GM Carl Peterson and fired coach Herman Edwards.
Todd Haley, the new Chiefs coach whom Gonzalez never played for, called last weekend while the tight end was vacationing with his wife in New York City. Haley was relaying the message from new general manager Scott Pioli, once Dimitroff's boss, that the Falcons had agreed to trade Kansas City a 2010 second-round pick.
For Gonzalez, the time was right to move.
Nearly everything went Atlanta's way last year after a 2007 disaster that included the federal imprisonment of quarterback Michael Vick and the sudden resignation of first-year coach Bobby Petrino with three games remaining.
Dimitroff signed Michael Turner to a lavish contract, and the former San Diego backup finished second in the NFL in rushing. Receiver Roddy White earned his first Pro Bowl selection, and defensive end John Abraham his fourth.
Smith's staff helped nurture Ryan, the No. 3 overall draft, to become the NFL's offensive rookie of the year. After the trade for Gonzalez was completed Thursday, Smith called Ryan and asked him to call his new teammate.
"We've traded messages, but we haven't spoken yet," Gonzalez said. "We will really soon, I'm sure. I can't wait to meet my new teammates."
On the field, Gonzalez's production and durability are impressive. Yes, his 96 receptions covered 1,058 yards and 10 touchdowns last year. And he's the league's career leader among tight ends with 916 catches, 10,940 yards receiving, 76 TDs receiving and 26 games of at least 100 yards receiving.
"He's only missed two games in his entire career," Smith said. "The only other stat I think that's amazing is that he's had just one lost fumble in his career. That happened in his second season."
For Dimitroff, who only smiled when asked to compare this trade to the Patriots' acquisition two years ago of receiver Randy Moss for a fourth-round pick, the addition of Gonzalez could cause opposing coordinators and coaches to lose sleep.
"Tony still looks like he's 25 years old, and we believe he'll be an integral part of this offense," Dimitroff said. "It'll open things up in the red zone. It'll open things up on the outside for our receivers. I think it's going to be a good situation for Michael Turner, as well, in play-action."
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