Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 7/18/13
Nico Gonzalez should expect some fairly generous birthday presents from Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan this year. Nico, the son of Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez, was credited Wednesday with returning Ryan's most dependable target for the 2013 season. Entering the 2012 season, Gonzalez said he was 95 percent sure it would be his final year. After a NFC Championship loss to the San Francisco 49ers -- a loss that left Gonzalez contemplating at his locker for an extended period of time -- that percentage went up. He says he truly believed he was calling it quits. But that all came before talking with his 12-year-old son. "When I went home, I was able to talk to my family and my close circle -- specifically, my son Nico -- he was the reason I was going to retire, anyway," Gonzalez said in an interview with NFL Network on Wednesday. "He lives out in LA with his mom, he doesn't live with me during the season, so I wanted to spend more time with him. Nico said, 'You know what, Dad, you guys have a great team. I think you should go out and try it one more time.' And after he said that, with everything that fell into place, with the type of team we're going to have ... it was kind of a no-brainer." And it's true: The Falcons feature one of the most dynamic offenses in the league, especially with Gonzalez, the owner of 1,242 receptions, 14,260 receiving yards and 103 touchdowns over a 16-year career, back in the fold. Since being drafted in 1997 by the Kansas City Chiefs, the 6-foot-5 projected future Hall of Famer has proven to be one of football's most consistent stars -- the benchmark by which all at his position are judged. Even at the age of 36, he finished the 2012 season with 93 catches for 930 yards and eight touchdowns. Add him into an offense that includes Ryan (4,719 passing yards, 32 TD), two explosive wideouts (Roddy White, Julio Jones) and a backfield that now features free agent pickup Steven Jackson, there were certainly on-field factors that came into play. In the same interview with NFL Network, Gonzalez firmly stated that the 2013 seasons would be his last. In terms of percentages, he left no wiggle room. "Without a doubt, yes. Without question," Gonzalez said. It doesn't sound like even Nico could change his mind this time around.
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