August 4, 2000
Kansas City City Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez has one simple goal: Master the Game. In the September issue of NFL Insider magazine, on sale August 15, National Editor Vic Carucci profiles Gonzalez who seems destined to become recognized among the league's all-time great tight ends.
"When I see Tony, I do see myself out there," says Pro Football Hall of Fame tight end Kellen Winslow, who defined the position from 1979-87 with the San Diego Chargers. "He is an athlete playing football. I considered myself an athlete who played football."
While his 6_4, 251-pound frame helped him to establish his presence among the league's tight ends during his first two seasons, Gonzalez realized that he would need to enhance his mental prowess if he was going to break from the pack in 1999. When he wasn't spending time in the film room or with tight ends coach Keith Rowen last season, Gonzalez sought other ways to enhance his performance. In addition to the Chiefs' playbook, the former football and basketball star from the University of California often could be seen reading self-help books by authors such as Anthony Robbins, Michael Jordan, Pat Riley, and Lou Holtz.
"I don't like second place; I'm out there trying to win everything," says Gonzalez, who earned Pro Bowl honors in 1999 after leading all NFL tight ends with 76 receptions for 849 yards and 11 touchdowns. "That's why I like guys like Michael Jordan and Lou Holtz. They've done great things because they're so competitive. They don't accept second place. That's the way I was brought up."
One book has a special place on the shelf When Pride Still Mattered, David Maraniss' biography on legendary NFL coach Vince Lombardi. In order to achieve his ultimate goal and earn membership in the exclusive club of tight ends that reside in the Hall of Fame, Gonzalez has adopted a Lombardi quote as his credo: "The very best kind of pride is to do your very best even when nobody is watching."