Having arrived at #88 in our uniform history series, there's little doubt who the greatest Falcon was to wear the number. In fact, there's little doubt that Tony Gonzalez may be one of the greatest to have ever played the tight-end position. Before we get to Tony, though, we'll take a quick look at some other players who have worn the number 88 for the Falcons over the years.
Drafted in the third round of the 1997 draft by the Falcons, this 6'7" tight end out of Kent State would wear the #88 from 1997 to 1999 for the dirty birds. In his three years in Atlanta, Santiago would start 41 games and amass 59 receptions for 819 yards and 7 TDs.
Between 1983 and 1987, this 6'3" tight end out of Texas Southern would don the #88 for the Falcons. During his 5 year stint with the Falcons, he would start 66 games and pulled in 111 receptions for 1268 yards and 7 TDs.
With no disrespect to either Arthur Cox or O.J. Santiago, there was simply no doubt who the greatest player to wear #88 was for the Falcons. The future hall of fame tight end out of California started his career with the Kansas City Chiefs where he played for 12 seasons. When he was traded to the Falcons in 2009, it was in the hope of getting one or two more seasons out of the veteran. He would go on to play five total seasons in Atlanta, becoming a big factor in the development of young quarterback Matt Ryan.
In those 5 seasons, Gonzalez would start in 80 games and amass 409 receptions for 4187 yards and 35 TDs. Even though he was in his mid-thirties by the time he joined the Falcons, Tony G continued to perform at a high level in his time with the team. Though his last season with the team was the highly disappointing 2013 season, there's little doubt that he was a big part of the early success of the Mike Smith Falcons.
What are your thoughts on Gonzalez and his time with the team?