Tony Gonzalez excused from Atlanta Falcons minicamp


It's news when a veteran player misses mandatory minicamp. After all, it's the only "mandatory" event of the offseason until training camp.

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However, it's hard to find Tony Gonzalez's absence from next week's practices too noteworthy. Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith announced Friday that the team gave Gonzalez permission to miss the sessions.

Gonzalez considered retirement this offseason, and his return seemed somewhat contingent on the Falcons allowing him some time away from the team. That's a fair tradeoff for a 37-year-old star who has proven he takes care of his body as well as any player of his generation.

The Falcons are one of four teams holding mandatory minicamps next week. The rest of the league is already off for the summer.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.