Posted: 10:00 am Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Gonzalez still ticked at ESPN over contrived Ryan flap 

By D. Orlando Ledbetter

Tony Gonzalez believes the flap over quarterback Matt Ryan was contrived. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com)

Tony Gonzalez believes the flap over quarterback Matt Ryan was contrived. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com)

Former Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he wanted to clear the air with Falcons fans about a recent magazine article that suggested he somehow disrespected Matt Ryan.

“There was no firestorm,” Gonzalez said. “They pulled quotes from that article a couple of days before it came out, so now you’re not getting the whole story. ESPN was biased about it and so was the NFL Network. I saw the ticker where it said, ‘Tony calls out his former quarterback’ or whatever. Which is ridiculous.”

Gonzalez and Ryan often dined after games in Buckhead. Their families are close and slight – real or perceived — was intended.

“Matt and I are going on two vacations together,” Gonzalez said. “Me and his wife (Sarah) and my wife (October), we go out to dinner all of the time. Why would I call the guy out, who made the last five years of my career great? Why would I call him out?

“I didn’t call him out. That’s why I didn’t respond to it. I didn’t tweet about it. I didn’t go on a bunch of radio stations. I did a couple of interviews and I was like, I’m not defending myself. This is ridiculous and I talked to Matt, too. It’s a non-story as far as I was concerned.”

Gonzalez was reluctant to group Ryan with Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodger and Drew Brees.

“Matt is so close to being at the top of the NFL,” Gonzalez said. “He is one of the best quarterbacks in the league. I stand by what I said. The Mount Rushmore for NFL quarterbacks is Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning and those guys are all potentially, you can make an argument. …I know at least two of them are first ballot Hall of Famers and Matt is almost there.”

Gonzalez expect Ryan to continue to ascend in the league, with the help of an improved offensive line.

“With a couple of key replacements, If they get an offensive line where you can give him some time to throw and Julio (Jones) gets backs, Roddy gets back and you have Harry (Douglas) and whoever else they get in there, and Levine (Toilolo, It’s going to be lights out with that guy because he’s that good of a player and he’s still going to get better.”

Gonzalez said he plans to get around to filing his retirement papers soon. That will trigger his countdown to Canton.

“I just haven’t gotten around to it, but I’m going to do it here eventually,” Gonzalez said.

48 comments
Falcon Ben
Falcon Ben

The AJC needs a better reporter to cover the Falcons. You know, one who has mastered the incredibly complex issue of proofreading. This is an embarrassment to the entire city of Atlanta. 

BigIrishMike
BigIrishMike

Tong G move on past this story we here in Atlanta are not dumb. We can process your intentions and the results of the QB in question.  Heck some pro football web site says the Falcons have no elite (game changers)players on the team. Not even Julio Jones. Is anyone calling them out?  Now your begining to sound like you are starting a new job and you need the PR. Deep breath let it go we have.

StatesBurr
StatesBurr

Ever thought about proof reading...spell check?   Geesh....

FalconsPeach
FalconsPeach

Don't say anything else and the story will die.  Shoot the story had died.  And now it is here again because TG, who said he decided not to respond to it, is responding to it. 

FoSho
FoSho

100 million, 1 playoff win---enough said

Iluvnutella
Iluvnutella

ESPN crew are all yellers and screamers, Bill O'Reiley sports guys....they suck.

Phillipdj
Phillipdj

ESPN has long since devolved into TMZ sports. Colin Cowherd addresses it all the time (his new book is fun to read) on his radio show. Stephen A and Skip have 5 hours a day and get paid millions to be the faces of espn2.

Part of being a pro athlete millionaire is dealing with the media - but these aren't "misquotes" anymore. They're purposeful cherry picking and reframing hit jobs to get more people to click in their blogs. More clicks = more ad sales = promotions = career ascension. There is no journalistic disincentive to stop this practice.

ESPN is the major violator but the ajc isn't far behind...

Mike2112
Mike2112

Okay so TG sets the record straight about MR2. What about when they (his wife) was pissed off when TG didn't get traded ? Where was his voice when he seen that terrible O line ? Why did it take so long to "set the record straight" ? Why did the organization as disfunctional as it is right now in leadership feel that paying him a boat load of money and let him skip OTA's was acceptable and not step up when the articles were written ? So with all the questions I just asked , here's one more , Will upper management right this ship ? and why did they not take up for the 100 million dollar man ?

Falcons63
Falcons63

A non story blown up by ESPN.  We shouldn't be surprised by anything ESPN does these days.  By the way..  Please proof read these stories before publishing.  At times the grammar and punctuation make this column  painful to read.

jeeperscrow
jeeperscrow

"Their families are close and slight – real or perceived — was intended."

"Gonzalez expect Ryan to continue to ascend in the league, with the help of an improved offensive line."

"..and Levine (Toilolo, It’s going to be lights out with that guy because he’s that good of a player and he’s still going to get better.”

See if you can find the error (or errors) in each of the three sentences above. Using Ledbetter's articles would be a great way to help 6th grade students learn proper wording of sentences and proper use of punctuation.

Every story I read by Ledbetter has at least a couple of errors that a simple proofread would correct. It is ridiculous that this guy has a job at a major newspaper.

LMO
LMO

Matt Ryan isn't Elite... he's a Good QB, but not elite.  He has arguably the best WR corps in football and has one Playoff game to show for it.  When you Win the big one, then you get the praise, until then, you are a Good QB that puts up big numbers in the regular season.

FalconJames
FalconJames

If I remember correctly DOL was on the media bandwagon with a headline that said "Gonzalez says Ryan is not 'Elite'. 



theKevin
theKevin

Just says Matt has more room to grow and more to achieve. Nothing wrong w/ that. Stay hungry Matty.

Savdon
Savdon

Are the Falcons trying to trade Julio to the Detroit Lions for Calvin Johnson? 

bhusted
bhusted

"Their families are close and slight – real or perceived — was intended."


I think you mean wasn't intended.

PoopDawg
PoopDawg

Thanks Tony  for all you have done for the Falcons.  Your a class act! Enjoy your retirement you have earned it.

LowcountryFalcon
LowcountryFalcon

I had no issue with him saying that Matt isn't elite, I was more irked that he thought he could waltz back on the team if they are 9-2...Either way, it  was blown up to be more than what it was..

MoistDawg
MoistDawg

im more of a college fan then pro but some of you people disgust me. I think some of you are the same people on the uga storys saying aaron murray ain elite or todd gurley just different names. It makes me sick.

FoSho
FoSho

until ryan wins a title, he's not elite---no need to sugar coat it.

birdrow
birdrow

You guys ran this article for literally a week trying to get all the play out of it that you could.  Anyone besides the haters could tell what he was saying, and you guys lapped up every hateful post.  Whatever......

DASDGUY
DASDGUY

Hasn't filed his papers yet......He's haveing reservations...TG One more year !!

332-206
332-206

"Their families are close and slight..."


Their families are close and NO slight...?

SeenThatB4
SeenThatB4

If you can't beat them, join them? That must work for you TonyG. But, you were right, MRyan is not an elite QB, don't back track what you really believe!

GEAUX SAINTS!!!

zuzu331
zuzu331

Here's a fun game.

I 'll make a simple and to the point statement:'Atlanta is an awesome city.As a matter of fact,according to local NFL assistant coaches,Its All You Can Eat Chicken Wing joints could well be called......Elite!!!  But,the city,nahh the city itself is 'thiiiis close' to being a top tier city.It'll get there.'  


OK,now twist and turn that statement to make something out of nothing,to 'create' a sensational headline and newsblurb out of thin air. It's easy to get people riled up about nothing.Too Easy.


This is called 'taking something out of context' and it's why lots of smart people refuse to talk to reporters at all,ever.

JSSN
JSSN

He still acts like that the "potential" output of the 1/3 of the offense is going to make them more than a watered down version of the Chargers. You've got to understand the shelf like of something built like that.

And he still fails to understand that they cannot stop anyone when it counts!

EmoryEagles
EmoryEagles

When the news came out I completely understood what Tony meant, but I was still a little irked.  However, Tony's explanation explains everything perfectly and I definitely don't have any ill will against him.  When it comes down to it, Matt Ryan was probably the best quarterback Tony had during his NFL career, so it would be surprising if he actually made any negative comments.

DASDGUY
DASDGUY

Lol...can't help picturing a classic 'beverage projectile Spew', after reading the ticker tape. 'wth'....

DawgnIT
DawgnIT

Tony G's comments are still on point.  I'm still saddened by all the butt hurt Ryan fanboys who act like a hate crime has been committed anytime someone says Ryan isn't the best in the league.

ATLFan
ATLFan

Really glad to read these comments by Tony G. I had a feeling this was overblown. Looking forward to seeing him on the CBS pre-game show where I'm sure his insights will be interesting.

RogerHenslee
RogerHenslee

@LMO Yes, when you win the big one like Jeff Hostetler, Brad Johnson and Trent Dilfer(hey many like Rex Grossman made the big game), then you can get praise! Too bad so many like Dan Marino deserve no praise since they didn't win a super bowl.

Hell you could have put DJ Shockley on the Pittsburg Steelers Steel Curtain teams and he would have won a super bowl.

Winning the superbowl shouldn't be a criteria to be elite or great, its too dependent on the team,

Also, Matt Ryan has had some bad offensive lines and poor defenses..Very difficult to win big with that against elite teams.

That being said, I don't think Matt Ryan is yet(if ever) elite. I agree with what was said above from Tony G. Brady, Peyton, Brees and Rodgers are the Elite QBS today..And remember, Drew Brees has several subpar years before he developed and Rodgers got the luxury of a few years on the bench learning the NFL system behind a great QB before jumping on the stage.

Matt Ryan with a good line and running game has as good of shot of being one of the next(Brees, Brady and Peyton don't have that many great years left at their ages) elite QBs as any other player at the position.

JSSN
JSSN

@FalconJames  

The headline writers were the main ones, Mr. Ledbetter was a contributor.

Savdon
Savdon

@FoSho  

Ok. I'll throw out the obligatory "You don't think Dan Marino was elite?"  question.

DexterJordan
DexterJordan

SEEN!!

Are you on crack dude??  "If you can't beat them, join them? That must work for you TonyG"!!  Mr. Gonzalez is the absolute BEST TE to ever play the position and you actually think he would join at team just to win a SB??  It's one thing to return for one-more-season to try and win one but it's another to leave a team to do so.  As a matter of fact, ask Jimmy G. who's the best TE to ever play and check his answer. 

I agree that MR is not elite (not yet) but as Tony said he is a very good QB who will reach that plateau in the very near future.  I for one have no problem with that because I trust that my QB is doing everything in his power to ensure he is ready for that moment when it arrives.

And the AINT's had a good  year.  But as you well know, the AINT's (and any other team for that matter) is an injury away from being a non-factor for an entire season.

No doubt we will see when the Falcons and AINT's play again next year!!!

JSSN
JSSN

@RogerHenslee @LMO  

That is revisionist crazy talk. It is also a slight at some of the greatest Post merger teams in the history of the NFL-AFL. The Colts, Raiders, Chiefs, and most importantly Dolphins took the Steel Curtain teams to woodshed between 1972 till they broke thru in 1975 (Divisional or championship game). It was not until the Steelers settled their QB roulette wheel with Gilliam, Hannratty, and Bradshaw and the arrival of Franco Harris that Pittsburgh became something other than a tough out. Ask the 1976 and 1977 Steelers how "anybody" could win a Super Bowl with them. Better yet, go watch the video of the 1976 AFC Championship game PGH-vs-Oak in Oakland and make that Shockley crack again!

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

No.

Neither were Rypien, Sims, McMahon or Theisman.

JSSN
JSSN

@Savdon @FoSho  

Simple, Marino quarterbacked a team to a Super Bowl in his 2nd season in the League. He also did it with Tony Nathan and Woody Bennett as his leading running backs. I'm no one for holding up non Super Bowl winning QBs up, but Marino in his prime was something else!

SeenThatB4
SeenThatB4

I was referring to him joining CBS dimwit.

SoulPower
SoulPower

@BigCrimson75


Those QB's you all mention definitely were not "elite". However, they won in a different era where great running games and defenses were dominant!

Trackbacks

  1. […] an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Gonzalez blasted ESPN (and NFL Network, in fact) for being “biased” and twisting his […]

  2. […] Tony Gonzalez made headlines earlier this month when described former teammate Matt Ryan as excellent but not elite. Gonzalez who just accepted an analyst job with CBS hadn’t spoken about the quote until now. Gonzalez spoke to the Atlanta Journal Constitution about the ESPN the Magazine story and wasn’t too thrilled about how the quote was taken out of context. […]

  3. […] an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Gonzalez blasted ESPN (and NFL Network, in fact) for being “biased” and twisting his words […]

  4. […] believes ESPN and NFL Network were “biased” when some choice quotes from an ESPN the Magazine story were leaked earlier in the month. Gonzalez […]

  5. […] rounds on sports tickers across the country, and Gonzalez noticed. In recent comments he made to D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, it seems the all-time great tight end is still peeved at the way his quotes were […]