Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez has never won a playoff game, and he has made his wishes clear that he wanted to play for a team that could contend for a championship.
Gonzalez got what he wanted on Thursday as the Chiefs worked out a deal with the Falcons. But general manager Scott Pioli said the Chiefs weren’t shopping their 10-time Pro Bowler.
“We did not seek to trade Tony. There was an opportunity that came to us,’’ Pioli said. “The (Falcons) came to us on this. We had internal discussions (about) what the opportunity was, what the pick was. We felt a second-round pick in 2010 was an acceptable value for the trade.’’
That’s exactly what the Chiefs got from Atlanta in exchange for the sure hands of Gonzalez. And now it appears he’ll get his chance to make a push for the Super Bowl as he joins a team that made the playoffs last year and is clearly on the rise.
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Gonzalez and then-general manager Carl Peterson butted heads last fall as Gonzalez asked the Chiefs to send him to a contender before the trade deadline. Peterson said the offers weren’t good enough, and Gonzalez wasn’t sure the Chiefs tried hard enough.
Pioli, who became Chiefs general manager in January, said Gonzalez never came to him with a similar request.
“Tony and I never had conversations, nor did Todd (Haley) and Tony,” Pioli said. “Tony didn’t have any conversations with anyone in this organization about that.
“I really want to stay away from characterizing Tony’s thoughts or comments other than . . . we didn’t get the sense he wanted (a trade).’’
Gonzalez, though, didn’t exactly seem on board when he decided not to show up for last weekend’s minicamp at Arrowhead Stadium, prompting expectations that a trade might be in the works this week before the NFL draft.
“We don’t believe in the rebuilding term and all of that stuff. This is something we really feel is best for the short-term and long-term interests of the Chiefs,’’ Pioli said.
Gonzalez owns NFL career records for tight ends with 916 receptions, 10,940 receiving yards, 76 receiving touchdowns and 26 100-yard receiving games, totals that are the highest of any player in Kansas City history in all categories. He played in 188 regular-season games for the Chiefs, meaning only guard Will Shields (224), kicker Nick Lowery (212) and punter Jerrel Wilson (203) played in more games.
He also earned 10 Pro Bowl berths as a member of the Chiefs, the highest total of any tight end in NFL history. He became just the fifth player and the first tight end in league history to produce 11 consecutive seasons with 50 or more catches in 2008.
“On behalf of my family and the Chiefs, I want to thank Tony for his time in Kansas City,” Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said. “Over the last 12 seasons, Tony has been one of the finest players in Chiefs history, and he will always be remembered as a member of the Chiefs. His play on the field speaks for itself – he holds almost every major NFL record for tight ends, and he is arguably the best to ever play his position. We wish him the best in Atlanta.”