Tony Gonzalez stated time and again he was "95 percent" certain he was retiring after the 2012 season.
Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff isn't saying the veteran tight end is being dishonest, but he feels there's a much better chance Gonzalez returns for a 17th season than he's let on.
"Tony has done so much for us on and off the field and I don't believe, not stating that he would be lying to anyone, but I don't believe the 95 percent," Dimitroff said Thursday on NBC Sports Network's "Pro Football Talk." "I want to believe it's a lot closer to 50/50, to be honest with you, and we've had discussions."
"Obviously (head coach) Mike Smith has had discussions with him. We're all in a good place. Ultimately it's up to Tony to decide if he wants to come back and potentially catch 100 balls again. I think it's one of those situations that Tony was so effective for us down the stretch and I can't imagine that his appetite wasn't sort of whet from his contributions in the playoffs."
Smith told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution this week there's nothing "concrete in terms of a timetable" for the tight end to come to a decision. Dimitroff said Thursday that Gonzalez is still the No. 1 tight end on Atlanta's internal depth chart. Smith said the Falcons' personnel department would perform its combine due diligence on tight end prospects regardless of Gonzalez's status.
It's still hard to believe Gonzalez would walk away with so much left in his tank, especially with that perfect setup in Atlanta. We'll believe Gonzalez is done when the retirement papers are filed. Until then, call us 95 percent unconvinced.