Free agent tight end Tony Gonzalez will take one last shot with the Atlanta Falcons.
Gonzalez told FOX Sports that he has informed the Falcons he's returning and is close to a new contract that will put him on the field for another run at a Super Bowl ring.
"After discussing it with my family and really, truly struggling with this decision, I informed the Falcons that I would like to return for one more shot," Gonzalez said. "Considering how this season ended, I wanted to give it another run with (quarterback) Matt (Ryan), Smitty (head coach Mike Smith) and the guys we have in there. It was the first time I had won a playoff game and hopefully coming back once more we can take it one step further."
The 13-time Pro Bowler is the all-time leading receiver among tight ends and second to Jerry Rice in all time receptions with 1,242.
"We are very pleased that Tony has decided to come back for another season," head coach Mike Smith said. "He has been a key component to our success during his four years and it is great to have the opportunity to coach him for a fifth season.
"Tony is one of the hardest working players I have ever been around and it will be good to have his leadership and work ethic back in our locker room."
Last season, Gonzalez had 93 receptions and eight touchdowns, then had two more TDs in the postseason. The Falcons lost to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game.
"I was done, I thought I had my mind made up," Gonzalez said. "This whole year I knew it would be my last, but the way our final game ended and talking to all the guys in the locker room, in the end it was too difficult of a way for me to step away from the game. It's not often in a career you're around a group like we have down in Atlanta."
To keep playing, Gonzalez turned down several offers from television networks, and had made certain commitments to his son Nikko for what he thought would've been his first season home in California.
"I have to say also I was pretty overwhelmed by the fans and how much they reached out to me," Gonzalez told FOX Sports. "It was really something. They sent me all these videos, posts on twitter, Facebook, things like that -- a bunch of different messages hoping I would return. Really makes you put things in perspective. I am coming back for one reason and one reason only, the chance to win a Super Bowl."
Gonzalezwas originally selected by the Kansas City Chiefs in the first round (13th overall) of the 1997 NFL draft. He was traded to the Falcons in exchange for Atlanta's second round selection in the 2010 draft on April 23, 2009.
Last season, Gonzalez became the first tight end and eighth player in NFL history to record 100 career touchdown catches.He also tied wide receiver Tim Brown's NFL record with his 10th consecutive season with 70-or-more catches.
"Tony has been vital to our success over the last four seasons and we are excited that he has decided to return for a fifth season," general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. "He is a great teammate and is a leader of our football team on the field and in the community. Tony leads by example and his professionalism has paid dividends across our entire organization, and we are very happy to have him as a member of our team."
The future member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame ranks is the first tight end and eighth player in NFL history to record 14,000 receiving yards, and his 14,268 career receiving yards rank seventh all time. Gonzalez ranks first in NFL history in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdown receptions among tight ends.
He also owns NFL records for 100-yard receiving games (30), Pro Bowl appearances (13) and 1000-yard seasons by a tight end (four).
In four seasons with the Falcons, Gonzalez has recorded 326 receptions for 3,328 yards with 27 touchdowns. He continues to be one of the NFL's most productive tight ends ranking among the League leaders at the position in receptions, yards, and touchdowns in 2012.