I think Thomas Dimitroff is standing outside Tony Gonzalez's house with a boombox these days.
While Gonzalez has said multiple times that he's "95% certain" or better that he'll retire, Dimitroff isn't giving up the ghost. In an interview with ESPN, the Comrade said he's been trying to woo the Hall of Famer. Frankly, I'd worry about his mental health if he wasn't.
"A guy who is 36 (years old) catching 100-plus balls (including the postseason), it just doesn't seem like it's time for him to move on," Dimitroff told ESPN.com while visiting the Super Bowl media center.
This is the issue that Gonzalez himself is probably grappling with. There's no question that Gonzo can still be one of the league's best tight ends, given the shape he keeps himself in and his total focus on the game. But if he's ready to spend more time with his family, transition into his next likely occupation as a broadcaster or just relax for a while, then the fact that he can still play might not be the most important thing at all.
I'm not sure Dimitroff's efforts make this any more likely to happen, but I'm glad he understands that his first priority is to figure out what Tony's up to. If Gonzalez returns, the Falcons can draft a developmental tight end this season and focus totally on defense. If he's gone, they need a free agent or a high-round draft pick who can step in and contribute early in the season. That's why there's a bit of a sense of urgency here, and while Dimitroff isn't setting a deadline, he's going to need to know soon.
I know we've debated this to death, but hey. Do you think Gonzalez is coming back in 2013?