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D. Orlando Ledbetter

Tony Gonzalez ready for one last game

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NFL, football, pro bowl, practice, honolulu, hawaii

NFL Pro Bowl players from Team Rice gather on the line of scrimmage during an NFL Pro Bowl practice on Earhart Field at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam sponsored by the USAA in Honolulu, Hawaii. (Aaron M. Sprecher / AP)

Our pal Joseph Person of The Charlotte Observer is out there surfing with the Pro Bowlers in Honolulu.

He had two nuggets of interest to Falcons fans. One on Tony Gonzalez and the other on potential free agent defensive end Greg Hardy.

Gonzalez, who was the first alternate at tight end, was added to replace San Francisco’s Vernon Davis.

He’s elated to play one more game.

“To be able to come out here the last game, it’s great. I wasn’t anticipating this,” Gonzalez told the Charlotte Observer. “I really thought the last game of the season we played against the Carolina Panthers, I thought that was going to be the last time I put on the helmet and shoulder pads. I’m very blessed to be chosen to come over here and I’m going to have a good time.”

Gonzalez will play on alumni captain Jerry Rice’s team, which is being led by Carolina coach Ron Rivera.

“Tony’s been great for this league for so many years,” Rivera said. “It’s kind of neat to see his Pro Bowl jersey as they were putting it together. I think there’s 13 stars for each Pro Bowl he’s been in. It was really impressive to see his nametag with all those starts next to it.”

The Panthers are in a similar situation that the Falcons were in last season. They want to pay their quarterback and may have to lose some players in the process.

Person also notes that the Panthers could slap the franchise tag on Greg Hardy.

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