Coach Mike Smith told FoxSportsSouth.com on Wednesday that his veteran tight end won't join his teammates for another seven to 10 days. The current plan is to have Gonzalez arrive around Aug. 17 and play in the Falcons' final two preseason games against the Tennessee Titans (on Aug. 24) and the Jacksonville Jaguars (on Aug. 29).
The Falcons knew Gonzalez, 37, wouldn't show for the start of camp. When he put his retirement plans on hold, Gonzalez promised his son, Nikko, that he'd be around for the start of the 12-year-old's first season of organized football.
The upside for the Falcons is plenty of snaps for young tight ends Chase Coffman and Levine Toilolo. Nothing about Gonzalez's play from last season -- 93 catches, 930 yards and eight touchdowns -- suggests a decline. Still, if he's truly at the end (and we have our doubts), tight end becomes a primary need for the Falcons' offense in 2014.The Around The League Podcast is now available on iTunes! Click here to listen and subscribe.