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Tony Gonzalez will be back, Sean Weatherspoon thinks


Tony Gonzalez says he's 95 percent certain the 2012 season was his last, but the Atlanta Falcons would welcome him back.

"I'm hoping for the 5 percent," coach Mike Smith told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday. "Tony handled this very well all season long. I don't think he's deviated from that."

Smith plans to talk with his 36-year-old tight end over the next couple of weeks. Gonzalez showed no decline in his play this season, leading the Falcons with 93 catches for 930 yards and eight touchdowns. He was especially productive in Sunday's NFC Championship Game loss to the San Francisco 49ers, grabbing eight receptions for 78 yards and a score.

Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon believes the Falcons' success -- they finished 13-3 in the regular season and fell just short of the Super Bowl -- will be reason enough for Gonzalez to play next season.

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NFL Replay will re-air the San Francisco 49ers' 28-24 win over the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship Game on Tuesday, Jan. 22
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"I think he's coming back," Weatherspoon said. "I think if we had a bad year, he wouldn't come back. But we had a great year, so I think we are right there."

On Sunday, Gonzalez sounded at peace with his decision. The idea of another offseason of practices and training camp might represent a negative for Gonzalez, but his desire for a ring might trump all else.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.


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