The prolific tight end "consistently confessed" during Atlanta's 4-12 season that he was uncertain about retirement, according to a profile by Seth Wickersham in the latest edition of ESPN The Magazine. Wickersham shadowed Gonzalez during what was believed to be the future Hall of Famer's NFL farewell in 2013.
Gonzalez and retirement have been synonymous for two years now. Back in 2012, he repeatedly stated he was 95 percent certain he'd call it quits following that season. He came back in 2013, skipped most of training camp and was typically productive in what became a lost year in Atlanta. Publicly, he never acknowledged he was again having second thoughts about retirement.
Also from Wickersham's profile: Gonzalez was more open to a midseason trade than he let on. Shortly before the deadline, Gonzalez met with coach Mike Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff and expressed his openness to a deal. He did not formally ask to be traded. When the deadline came and went without a move, Gonzalez was not happy.
Moving Gonzalez certainly made a lot of sense at the time and it's unclear why he chose to play it passive as the deadline approached. There were plenty of contenders -- his old team in Kansas City included -- that could have used his services.
We'll see if Gonzalez can resist the itch to return. That might end up being an upset.