Tony Gonzalez has been excused from attending the mandatory veterans minicamp next week, Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith said on Friday. The camp, which is scheduled to begin Tuesday and run through Thursday, is open to the public with a schedule being available here.
Gonzalez had initially planned to retire following the 2012 season, but after one of his most productive years in recent memory, the tight end chose to return with the Falcons and Gonzalez agreeing to terms on an extension worth $14 million in March.
Gonzalez finished 2012 with 93 receptions for 930 yards and eight touchdowns, making the season his best in an Atlanta uniform. He also earned first-team All-Pro honors for the first time since 2008. The 37-year-old is heading into his fifth season with the Falcons and 17th NFL season overall.