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C-Mac
07-29-2008, 06:53 AM
The Old Guy Goes Young (http://www.kcchiefs.com/news/2008/07/29/the_old_guy_goes_young/)
Jul 29, 2008, 5:46:24 AM by Bob Gretz - FAQ

RIVER FALLS, WI – When you look at him, it’s hard to believe Tony Gonzalez is considered old.

His face hasn’t changed much from the first days he walked into Arrowhead Stadium 11 years ago. He wore a fresh faced smile then. He’s sporting the same dazzling smile now.

Only in the world of pro football can a 32-year old man be considered old. But that’s the case with TG and the 2008 Chiefs. The only players on the team that are older than him are Donnie Edwards, Damon Huard, Alfonso Boone and Jean-Philippe Darche. The only player who has been in the league longer is Edwards (by one year). Nobody has spent more time wearing a red and gold uniform than Gonzalez.

On a team that has 15 players that are 22 or younger, Tony G is like a middle school kid forced to spend some time on the playground with the pre-schoolers. Gonzalez does not hide the fact that when Herm Edwards told him about the changes that were in store for the Chiefs, he was not happy.

“At first I was frustrated, I was a little ticked off to tell the truth,” Gonzalez admitted. “I’m winding down in my career and this is not what I signed on for last year when I re-did my deal. But after seeing the guys they brought in, seeing the guys in the draft, it’s making a lot more sense. I’m realizing we are a pretty darn good football team … we will be a lot better football team than we were last year.”

Of course, it wouldn’t take much for the Chiefs to be a better team than last year. That 4-12 was the worst season of Gonzalez’s career. It hurt even more because it came in the year he signed what will likely be his final NFL contract. That was a deal worked out with the Chiefs instead of trying his hand at free agency. He envisioned several more seasons of challenging for the playoffs and hopefully a championship.

Those post-season games are the No. 1 items on Gonzalez’s agenda these days. In 11 NFL seasons, he’s never enjoyed a victory in the playoffs, let alone a championship.

“It’s really not the individual thing anymore, it’s about going out there and putting the best team together,” Gonzalez said. “I can help that out a lot, not just on the field, but in the locker room, helping these guys become the best players they can be.”

Taking the advice of his brother Chris and recently retired New York Giants DE Michael Strahan, Gonzalez has decided to embrace the changes rather than fight them.

“I was talking to my brother and he said the best thing for you to do is get more involved,” Gonzalez said. “Instead of sitting with Donnie (Edwards) or somebody you know already, sit with some of these young guys and get to know them. That’s what I’m going to do. I hope they ask me questions. I’m going to ask them questions about their lives. I want to get to know them, I want to enjoy this.

“It’s a totally new year, a new start. It’s refreshing to me.”

Gonzalez has been more active in the classroom, where he’s putting in extra time studying Chan Gailey’s new offense. “I’m in the meeting room before meetings and after,” he said.

On the field, he’s working on building his relationship with QB Brodie Croyle.

“Getting Brodie comfortable with me, that’s what this camp is about, so we can get on the same page,” Gonzalez said. “So far so good; I do feel better about it. Brodie has cannon and he likes to throw that thing in there and Damon (Huard) is more of a touch guy, so you get used to different speeds.

“We will make sweet music when it’s done.”

Gonzalez thinks there can be plenty of sweet music for the Chiefs this year. He also has been around the block enough times to know that there are plenty of skeptics in the Chiefs Nation right now.

“Most people are not going to believe it,” Gonzalez said. “People in my own family are like ‘oh yeah, whatever.’ I’m telling you we are a lot better than we were last year. We are a lot farther along. These young guys can play. They can go.”

Gonzalez is trying to help out with all the young guys as well, trying to speed up the learning curve.

“I can tell them what works for me and hopefully they can incorporate it into their games,” Gonzalez said. “I just got done talking to (Brian Johnston) about work ethic and what it’s going to take to be good. They ask me those questions. I don’t have to seek them out, they want to know. Winding down the end of my career I want them to get better. I want that learning curve shortened so w e can go out there and be the best team right away.

“We do have a young team and there are going to be some growing pains, there’s no doubt about that,” Gonzalez added. “But I think by the end of the year we are really going to have a really good football team and we will be that much ahead going into next year.”
23 votes

BigChiefFan
07-29-2008, 07:08 AM
I sure hope Tony G. sticks around for at least a couple more years.