NFL Notes: Falcons hope for Gonzalez's return

NFL Notes: Falcons hope for Gonzalez's return
February 23, 2013, 9:00 am
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INDIANAPOLIS -- The Atlanta Falcons have two primary offseason goals.

Yes, they want to lock up franchise quarterback Matt Ryan to a new long-term deal. But the more pressing need may be getting tight end Tony Gonzalez to delay his retirement plans for another season.

"I've spoken with Tony, and I hope you guys understand that when I talk to my players, I try to keep those conversations private," coach Mike Smith said Friday at the NFL's annual scouting combine. "I'll talk with him again, and the time frame on that is sooner than later. We know that Tony had an outstanding year for us."

Atlanta (13-3) finished with the NFC's best record and fell just short of reaching its second Super Bowl, a loss that many thought would be the last of Gonzalez's career.

While he hasn't officially announced his retirement, Gonzalez has said repeatedly he was 95 percent certain the 2012 season would be his last in the NFL.

If Gonzalez doesn't return, Smith made it clear the Falcons would be looking for a replacement that looks a lot like Gonzalez, the career leader for receptions among tight ends. Of course, the best solution might be not be finding a replacement at all (see full story).

New concussion protocol includes special app
INDIANAPOLIS -- The NFL is providing an iPad application to help team doctors diagnose whether a player has a concussion.

League officials demonstrated how the new system will work at the annual scouting combine Friday in Indianapolis. The move comes after a recommendation from the NFL's Head, Neck & Spine Committee.

The questions and treatments will not change. But the app will create a scoring system to determine if there are large discrepancies between a player's baseline score and his game day score. If there is a large discrepancy, it would indicate the player has sustained a concussion.

Seahawks team doctor Stanley Herring, a committee member, says that while it will help diagnose head trauma, team doctors still need to trust their observations and instincts, too.

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