Now that the trade deadline has passed, Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez plans to turn his attention to playing his last season in the NFL.
“I’m happy to be here,” Gonzalez said Thursday.
There was a notion that the Falcons should trade him because they are 2-5 and don’t appear playoff-bound. While the Kansas City Chiefs, Gonzalez’s former team, are 8-0.
Gonzalez said the trade situation was overblown.
“I never asked for a trade, contrary to what people have written and what people have said,” Gonzalez said. “I never asked for a trade. All I said was that I’d be willing to listen if they’d got an offer, (would go along with) whatever they wanted to do. I’m here. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Falcons coach Mike Smith said the organization gave “no consideration” to trading Gonzalez, who’s considered a future Hall of Famer and perhaps the greatest tight end of all-time.
The notion of trading Gonzalez to the Chiefs was hatched on a sports talk show in Kansas City. Chiefs general manager John Dorsey didn’t discourage the speculation. “Fox NFL Sunday” analyst Jimmy Johnson called the Falcons a .500 team and said they should let Gonzalez decide if he wanted to be traded to a contender, out of respect.
“I heard the rumors from television and just reading them,” Gonzalez said. “Obviously, my family has my interests at heart, and they are going to come from a selfish standpoint. Why wouldn’t they? I’m their baby. They are saying ‘what would you do?’ I’m going to keep all of that in private.
“It doesn’t matter. What matters is I’m here today. That’s the reality of it. That’s a good reality as far as I’m concerned. I love Atlanta. I’m just glad it’s over with, and let’s get back to work.”
The Falcons were the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs last season and reached the conference championship game. They coaxed Gonzalez to come back for his 17th season in order to make another run at the Super Bowl. Now, he holds out hope for a major turnaround.
“Hopefully, we can make a serious run here because that’s what it is going to take,” Gonzalez said. “I believe that we’ve got the talent.”
Ryan’s Rant: The Panthers still talk about Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan’s rant after pulling off a 30-28 win last season at the Georgia Dome.
Ryan was caught by TV cameras telling the Panthers to “get the (expletive) off our field.”
The Panthers used it as a rallying cry for the game in Charlotte. N.C., and defeated the Falcons 30-20.
“It’s just a respect thing as an athlete and as a competitor,” Carolina quarterback Cam Newton said. “You’re always looking for any type of thing to give you an edge or to play with a chip on your shoulder.
“I think that’s what a lot of guys played with last year. But it’s not like we don’t need any other reasons to play hard, besides going out here and winning. But those guys felt like that they needed something, and that was just something (for them).”
Injury report: Wide receiver Roddy White, who’s recovering from ankle and hamstring injuries, and linebacker Stephen Nicholas (thigh) did not practice Thursday.
Smith hopes that White, who has run on the side with trainers for a week, gets cleared by the team doctors for Friday’s practice.
Running back Jason Snelling (ankle) returned to practice after missing the Arizona game. Linebacker Akeem Dent (ankle) and right guard Garrett Reynolds (knee) fully participated in practice after being limited Wednesday.
Offensive tackle Sam Baker (knee), offensive lineman Joe Hawley (elbow), safety William Moore (hip), defensive tackle Peria Jerry (toe) and defensive end Osi Umenyiora (knee) were limited for the second day this week.
Ryan’s historic day: Ryan had the worst 300-yard passing game in NFL history against the Cardinals, according to the web site profootballreference.com.
Ryan attempted a career-high 61 passes and completed 34 for 301 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions. Ryan’s game was the first time in NFL history that a quarterback passed for over 300 yards while averaging less than 5 yards per attempt.