The Kansas City Chiefs announced on Thursday that the club has traded TE Tony Gonzalez to Atlanta in exchange for a second-round selection in the 2010 NFL Draft.
"On behalf of my family and the Chiefs, I want to thank Tony for his time in Kansas City," Chiefs Chairman Clark Hunt said. "Over the last 12 seasons, Tony has been one of the finest players in Chiefs history, and he will always be remembered as a member of the Chiefs. His play on the field speaks for itself – he holds almost every major NFL record for tight ends, and he is arguably the best to ever play his position. We wish him the best in Atlanta."
"From an organizational as well as personal standpoint there are mixed emotions," said Scott Pioli, General Manager of the Kansas City Chiefs, in announcing the trade. "I have the highest personal and professional respect for Tony and consider him to be a future Pro Football Hall of Famer."
Gonzalez owns NFL career records for tight ends with 916 receptions, 10,940 receiving yards, 76 receiving TDs and 26 100-yard receiving games, totals that are the highest of any player in Kansas City history in all of those respective categories. Gonzalez’s 916 career receptions rank ninth among all pass catchers in NFL history and are fourth among players who were active in 2008. He is one of only three tight ends to lead his franchise in career receptions.
The Huntington Beach, California native saw duty in 188 regular season games for Kansas City, meaning only G Will Shields (224), K Nick Lowery (212) and P Jerrel Wilson (203) played in more games. He started 174 games, a figure that ranks second in franchise history behind only Shields (223). Dating back to the AFL-NFL merger, the only tight ends to start more games than Gonzalez are Ozzie Newsome (191), Don Warren (178) and Kyle Brady (175). He has caught a pass in a franchise-record 131 consecutive games, the second-longest streak by a tight end in NFL annals and the fifth-longest active streak in the NFL entering 2009.
Gonzalez earned 10 Pro Bowl berths as a member of the Chiefs, the highest total of any tight end in NFL history. He was also selected first-team All-Pro by the Associated Press on five occasions. He holds Pro Bowl career records with 39 receptions for 590 yards and owns a share of a Pro Bowl record with five career TDs in that game.
The University of California product became just the fifth player and the first tight end in league history to produce 11 consecutive seasons with 50 or more catches in 2008. WR Jerry Rice (11) is the only player in league history with more consecutive 60-catch seasons than Gonzalez (10). He is the only tight end in NFL history to produce four 1,000-yard seasons.
Entering his 13th NFL season in 2009, Gonzalez was the recipient of both the Derrick Thomas Award as the Chiefs MVP in 2008 and the Mack Lee Hill Award as a rookie in ’97. He concludes his career in Kansas City with a franchise-record 10,954 yards from scrimmage and ranks fifth in team annals with 460 career points.
He came to Kansas City as the club’s first-round draft choice (13th overall) in ’97 and is the only Chiefs TE to have ever been selected to the Pro Bowl. Gonzalez joins Fred Arbanas as the only other Kansas City TE to earn a berth in the Pro Bowl or the AFL All-Star Game. Arbanas made five AFL All-Star appearances (’62-65 and ’67).