Q&A with TONY GONZALEZ - 9/24
Sep 24, 2008, 3:44:58 PM
Q: How is everyone keeping their heads up given your situation?
TONY GONZALEZ: ďObviously, weíre 0-3. What else do you expect? A lot of people are frustrated around here. Embarrassed a little bit. Itís not a good feeling. You try not to think about last year. The way Iím trying to think is last year is last year and weíre only 0-3. But then everywhere you look people are saying weíre 0-11 or whatever it goes back to. Youíve got all this darkness hanging over your head, but thatís when itís important for you to dig deep and try to stay positive and be enthusiastic. Because at the very least, at least weíre out here playing football. Thatís what we love to do and thatís the way Iím going to approach it. Weíve got a game this week, weíre playing a good football team and letís go get it done as far as Iím concerned.Ē
Q: Did you feel with all the veterans gone like you were the last guy home to turn out the light?
GONZALEZ: ďYeah, thatís how you feel sometimes. Iíve got old (LB) Donnie Edwards, donít forget about his old (*ss). Then (G) Brian Waters, you could count him in that group. Weíre the Last of the Mohicans and who knows how much longer weíre going to be here. But thatís how it goes. Thatís a decision that was made by the front office and (head coach) Herm (Edwards) and (President) Carl Peterson. Itís been kind of fun too, you know, being around all these young guys and getting to know new people. Thatís part of the process, too, of being a professional football player. You get to meet all these young guys every year. This year weíve got a lot more than usual. Iíve got to learn all these new names. But itís been fun and frustrating at the same time. Itís bittersweet.Ē
Q: Whatís it like for you as a veteran being around all these young guys?
GONZALEZ: ďLike I said, itís bittersweet. Back when they first started getting rid of all the veterans, I was like this isnít what I signed up for. I just redid my contract and now youíre getting rid of everybody. The word was rebuilding, and why would I want to be a part of something like that? I had those feelings of frustration and I was pissed off and all that, but thereís nothing wrong with change and going out there trying to start all over. Thatís where the learning curve comes in with these young guys, theyíve got to come in right away and play. And they have to play well. Right now weíre not playing well enough, thereís no doubt about it. In all phases, itís not just one position.
ďSo itís important that we start learning, and we start maturing a little bit. I remember back in my rookie year, it took me a little while to get going. I think the first eight games of my rookie year I had seven catches, the last eight games I had 25 catches. So it can turn at any moment for these young guys. Once they start playing, these guys are good enough to have a huge impact on the games that weíre in. So hopefully that comes sooner rather than later.Ē
Q: Do you worry that you might be a Charles Barkley and not get a title?
GONZALEZ: ďI think about it. I keep using the word frustrating, but thatís pretty much the way to describe it. Itís frustrating to me, because I want to win. This is my 12th year and I donít know how many years I have left. I donít want to sit out here and go out with a losing record. But at the same time, Iím going to go out there and enjoy the moment. At the very least, Iím looking for the positives here, I get to play football. I love playing football, thereís no doubt about it, I still feel like I can perform at a high level. Twelve years, but Iím only 32 years old. Iíve got a lot of football left in me if I want to play that much longer. Iím just trying to go out there and perform. And have fun with it, if weíre not going to win, then get mad about it and next week hopefully we can win.Ē
Q: When you look at your front office, do you have any criticisms about how theyíve gone about getting young?
GONZALEZ: ďNo, no criticisms. One thing about our team and the Broncos is that (Denver QB) Jay Cutler has been able to stay healthy. (QB) Brodie (Croyle) got hurt that first game, obviously thatís a big impact. We were counting on Brodie to take that next step in his career and become that dominant player just like Jay has shown that he can do in the first three games of the season. Itís a handicap, thereís no doubt about it. Thatís when the backups have to come in and play better. Weíll get this thing fixed. There were some positives last week against Atlanta. The second half we were able run the ball pretty effectively and we were able to go down the field. We just werenít able to put points on the board. If we can get back out there and put points on the board when we get down there in the Red Zone, weíll be okay.Ē
Q: How much longer do you want to keep playing?
GONZALEZ: ďRight now, Iím definitely coming back next year, but then after that weíll reevaluate and see. I feel pretty good right now. Barring any serious injury, I know I could come back after next year, but weíll see how it goes, I donít really know right now.Ē
Q: Do the numbers and things youíve done personally mean a lot to you?
GONZALEZ: ďRight now itís kind of hard to enjoy it because weíre not winning. Football at this point is not enjoyable in a sense of getting up every day and appreciating the grind because you know youíre getting something out of it. Like I said before, I still love football and I donít mean to contradict myself, Itís just that it gets hard at times when youíre not winning football games. Itís something that you donít want to get used to though. I donít want to get used to it. We have to keep playing and keep a positive attitude and go in thinking weíre going to win this next game.Ē
Q: Do you think of this record coming up (career receiving yards by a tight end)?
GONZALEZ: ďYeah, I think itís something I take satisfaction in. With those names at the top with obviously Shannon Sharpe, and Ozzie Newsome and Kellen Winslow. To be mentioned with those guys, guys that I grew up watching. Iíve been playing TE, that was my position, I wasnít a receiver that turned TE when I got to college or something, Iíve been playing TE since my freshman year in high school. So itís a position that Iíve admired for a long time. And watching the greats go before me and now knowing that Iím up there surpassing them, itís an incredible feeling. Itís gratitude and humility and it makes you kind of humble if you think about it. Like I said before, it would be a lot better if I could break that record in a victory instead of a loss.Ē
Q: Would it mean something to break the record against the Broncos?
GONZALEZ: ďYeah, of course. A division game, a home game, it would be nice to get it this week. In a victory, obviously would be the ideal situation. I know Shannon pretty well. I see him every year at the Super Bowl and we talk. It would be good to get it against his former team. I have nothing but respect for Shannon Sharpe, heís a guy I watched a lot when I was younger. I talk to him about the tight end position all the time when I do see him out at the Super Bowl. It would be a cool thing.Ē
Q: What kind of evolution have you seen in the TE position?
GONZALEZ: ďThe evolution of the TE is huge. Itís making great strides. I think youíre seeing a lot more of the receiving TEs. I think thatís where itís starting to break down a little bit because people are judging TEs on just catches instead of going out there and actually blocking too, which is part of the position. Thatís what I always tell Shannon, I mean gee you didnít block very much. But yeah, itís a real athletic position, itís a mismatch position. Obviously you put a big athletic TE out there, you feel like he can out-jump a corner and out-quick a linebacker, so itís a position that I think most teams are going to. You can pretty much run the offense through a good TE with that short game.Ē
Q: Do you feel like you and Shannon were trendsetters?
GONZALEZ: ďYeah, I think so. I think a little bit. Obviously Kellen Winslow, he was kind of the first one to show what that position, that athletic style, that six-foot-five athletic guy getting down the middle. Shannon picked it up then I came in. We were definitely at the beginning of that, but now you see guys like that on every team. It takes more than just being athletic. Youíve got to have the right guy, a guy with the right mindset to go out there and do it week in and week out.Ē
Q: Do you ever see yourself going to management and asking them to let you go to try and win a championship?
GONZALEZ: ďYeah. I definitely could, but I love being a Chief. But if it was something where it was going to take three or four years or whatever before they get this thing right, I think it would be in their best interest to maybe see what they can get and send me off. But I love being a Chief and I couldnít imagine being anywhere else at this point. At the end of this season, hopefully I donít have to ask that. Hopefully we get this thing turned around. Iíve got a family now. I came here when I just turned 21, so this is home. Thatís where Iím at right now with that.Ē