Birth date: February 27, 1976
Birth place: Torrence, California
Height: 6'4" Weight: 250
"I don't like second place; I'm out there trying to win everything. That's why I like guys like Michael Jordan" said KC Chiefs tight end, Tony Gonzalez.
Tony Gonzalez wasn't much of a football fan growing up. In fact, Tony was very interested in sports at all through his elementary and middle school years.
When his brother Chris became interested and involved with high school football, Tony decided to enroll in the local Pop Warner football league and give football a try. He was terribly disinterested in the prospect of harming himself or others in such a violent and physical sport. Also, the workouts were very demanding and tolling on the body. Many times Tony's parents would drop him off at Pop Warner field for football practice and he would beat them back home.
Ultimately, Tony walked away from the football league with little if any desire to ever play again. But when he reached high school, Tony decided to follow in his brother Chris' footsteps and play.
Tony attended Huntington Beach High school in California and played two sports -- basketball and football.
He began showing some promise in football during the end of his sophomore year at Huntington Beach, but coach George Pascoe, suggested that he would not only receive a lot of football scholarship offers (over 130 were ultimately offered by his senior year). The prediction disappointed Tony, but it also made him strong. He wanted to prove his coach wrong. He trained hard with his older brother Chris and their friends and by the end of Tony's junior year in High School, Tony started getting coverage by the media and it became evident that he might be able to gain a college education and a successful football experience through scholarships.
It was joyous but confusing experience when it came to choosing the college.
Tony began receiving some interest from colleges in his sophomore year, and by his junior year, he was receiving letters and phone calls daily. At the end of his senior year, Tony received over 130 college scholarship offers, for both football and/or basketball.
While Tony was flattered by the coaches' interest in him, it soon became quite tedious for him to give each caller the time and attention they wanted. His personal time was no longer his own, and each coach was pressing for some sign of interest, loyalty or commitment. At the end, Tony made out well and went to California State.
As a basketball player in California State, he helped lead Cal to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament . . . Played in 28 games (six starts), averaging 6.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. In one game he scored 26 points.
As a football player for Cal State Golden Bears, Gonzalez flourished under Coach Mariucci's offense as a junior in '96, ranking third on the team with 46 receptions for 699 yards (15.9 avg) and five TDs . . . Became just the second tight end in Cal State history to earn first team All-America accolades (David Lewis in ''82)
In three seasons at California, Gonzalez played in 33 games catching 89 passes for 1,302 yards (14.6 avg.) with eight touchdowns
In 1997, Tony's hard work paid off. The Kansas City Chiefs selected Tony Gonzalez from the University of California with their first-round draft pick.
In his rookie season (1997), Tony struggled a bit. He wasn't use to the plays -- Gonzalez dropped passes, missed blocks, and occasionally looked more like the basketball player.
First pro catch was a 22-yard effort from Elvis Grbac at Denver against the Broncos (8/31/97) and collected a total of 33 catches for 368 yards (11.2 avg.) and two TDs in 1997. One of those touchdowns was made against the Miami Dolphins, diving 21-yard to the end zone to score a TD (10/5).
In 1998, Gonzalez started in all 16 contests at tight end and started striving at the position. He ranked second on the club with 59 catches and 621 yards receiving (10.5 avg.) and two TDs ... Caught at least three balls in all but two games and caught four or more passes in seven of the season's final nine contests. Overall, in 1998, Gonzalez made 59 catches, 26 more than he had made in his rookie season.
In his third NFL season, Tony Gonzalez was becoming a rising star in the NFL. In 1999, Gonzalez lead all NFL tight ends with 76 receptions for 849 yards, and ranking second at his position with 11 touchdowns. And that was without the benefit of playing a full 16-game schedule because of a knee sprain that kept him out of the opener.
Also, in 1999, Tony began being recognized nationally when he was chosen to the Pro Bowl. An honor which started classifying him as the league's (AFC) best tight end.
In 2000, Gonzalez continued his dominance at the tight end position for the KC Chiefs. In fact, he was focused on breaking team records and making NFL history.
Gonzalez set the Chiefs' single-season receiving record in 2000 with 84 catches to go with 1,071 yards and eight touchdowns. He leads all NFL tight ends in receptions, yards and touchdowns.
Gonzalez also accomplished a feat which made history during a game against the Oakland Raiders that has eluded all others at his position -- including Hall of Famers. He became the first tight end in NFL history to have four straight 100-yard games-- six for the season. The string of 100 yard games started on Oct. 10, 2000 through Nov. 5, 2000. In the last game he caught nine passes for 134 yards.
"That's NFL history right there," said Gonzalez. "Kellen Winslow, Mike Ditka and all the great tight ends that have played this game, no one's ever done that -- even guys still playing the game like Shannon Sharpe and Ben Coates."
And he's just 24 years old.
Gonzalez's spectacular 2000 season was recognized with his selection as the AFC's starting tight end in the Pro Bowl.
It will be the second straight Pro Bowl trip for Gonzalez, the only Chiefs player selected in a vote of players, coaches and fans to the Feb. 4, 2001 game in Honolulu Hawaii.
Despite being on of the greatest tight ends in the NFL, Gonzalez hasn't forgotten where he come from and gives back to the community.
He started the Shadow Buddies Foundation. A foundation focusing on assisting with educational and emotional support for seriously ill and mentally challenged children throughout the communities of Kansas City and California. The foundation also provides support for the disadvantaged youth through The Boys and Girls Club.
Antonio "Tony" Gonzalez comes from a mixed background, which includes Hispanic, African American and Indian.
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