The finest tight end in the history of the NFL had a few choice words for all of the receiver-only tight ends that are entering the league today.
In an on-air interview with Tony Siragusa during the fourth quarter of the Falcons vs. Bengals game, Tony Gonzalez stated clearly that he doesn’t think a whole lot of players who claim they are tight ends, but only stretch the field vertically down the seam and have no blocking ability whatsoever. Two players who immediately come to mind who have this approach are Jimmy Graham of New Orleans, and Jermichael Finley of Green Bay.
Gonzalez made it clear that ‘tight ends’ who have the label almost always flex out to the slot receiver position aren’t really tight ends. They are just really big wide receivers. He used the word ‘devolve’ to describe most tight ends coming out of college. Many can block, many can catch, few are the complete package.
There are very few players who are as complete a tight end as Gonzalez, and they seem to be a dying breed. However, there are still some tight ends who can do it all, like New England’s Gronkowski and San Francisco’s Vernon Davis. Many are out there claiming we are in a golden age of the tight end, and that the position is evolving. Tony Gonzalez believes that overall the position is devolving from its purest form, and I would completely agree with him.