No one in the NFL caught more passes than Kansas City Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez (102) last season.
Entering his ninth year, the 6-5, 251-pounder continues to ascend on all-time league charts. With nine touchdown catches this season, Gonzalez would surpass Shannon Sharpe (62) to become the NFL's all-time leading tight end in TD receptions.
Sharpe caught his 62 touchdowns in 203 games from 1990-03. Gonzalez has played in 127 games entering 2005.
Prior to Gonzalez's standout 2004 season, the last time a tight end led the NFL in receptions was in 1986 when Todd Christensen caught 95 passes for the Los Angeles Raiders. Having played in six consecutive NFL All-Star Games, Gonzalez has solidified himself among the league's top performers by making plays that most others cannot.
"The biggest advantage Tony gives us is his ability to catch the ball in crowds," says Chiefs head coach Dick Vermeil. "He runs well, but he doesn't have to outrun people to catch the ball. The contact around him when he's going for the football doesn't bother him. That makes him exceptional."
CBS/Westwood One Radio NFL color analyst Bob Trumpy played 10 seasons at tight end for the Cincinnati Bengals under Hall of Fame coach Paul Brown. A 12th-round pick from Utah who racked-up 4,600 career receiving yards and 35 touchdowns, Trumpy has seen his position evolve over the years.
"Tony is the biggest threat at the position," says Trumpy. "He is 50 pounds heavier and faster than any tight end of my era (1968-77). He is a gifted athlete and a wonderful receiver. Defenses don't hold the tight end up at the line of scrimmage anymore and he and the Chiefs take advantage of his free release to tear up the coverage."
Here's a look at the top tight ends in career touchdown receptions:
(62) Shannon Sharpe 1990-03
(60) Jerry Smith 1965-77
(54) Tony Gonzalez 1997-Present
(54) Wesley Walls 1989-03
(52) Dave Casper 1974-84
Chiefs Tight End Tony Gonzalez Embarks on TD Mark
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