You knew this was coming. Sooner or later, somebody was going to ask Tony Gonzalez about a potential comeback.
It wouldn't be unprecedented. Chris Carter, Brett Favre, and Deion Sanders. They all did it, each less able to contribute than Gonzalez probably is right now. Gonzalez is a gym rat, who meticulously manages his diet. There's no doubt he's in shape. It's just a matter of will. Per this Bob Glauber report, Gonzalez is still willing to join a contender under the right circumstances.
Gonzalez acknowledged he'd be tempted to consider returning if a contender called him late in the season. After all, the only thing missing from his resume is a Super Bowl championship.
"The temptation would be there, but I don't know what the gain would be,'' he said. "I've always wanted a ring. That's been my main goal as a player over the last 15 years of my career. You're really trying to get that ultimate goal.
Now, let's not extrapolate too much from this statement. He said similar things at the end of last season. Still, the fact that he isn't foreclosing the possibility makes you wonder. It makes you wonder whether the Falcons would bring him aboard to make a playoff run. It makes you wonder how you'd feel if he played for a different team.
Gonzalez isn't stupid though. He knows it'd be difficult to quickly pick up a new offense. He knows it'd be difficult to get his rhythm back. And for those reasons, he's unlikely to come out of retirement.
"I was able to walk away from the game on my own terms. Not a lot of players get a chance to do that. I'm very fortunate to do that. I wouldn't want to go back on that good luck.''
No matter what, Gonzalez is going to worry about his legacy. Even so-called contenders aren't guaranteed much in the playoffs. Because of the parity in the NFL, playoff favorites often exit early. Imagine a scenario where he attempts a comeback with a one-and-done team, contributing very little. That'd certainly tarnish his legacy a little bit, and frankly, he'd look a little desperate.