(CBS Local)– Tony Gonzalez is one of the greatest tight ends to ever play in the NFL, but people in California were the first ones to find out just how athletic Gonzalez was.
Gonzalez was a football and basketball star at Huntington Beach High School and ended up playing both sports for the Golden Bears at Cal. The Hall of Fame tight end loved his time as an athlete, but he’s enjoying the next chapter of his life.
“It’s getting out of your comfort zone. Football was something I did my whole life and I did it pretty well and then it’s taken from you,” said Gonzalez. “Now you got to go out there and do something new and start at the bottom again. Some highs and some lows are going to happen, that’s part of the process. It’s taught me more about who I am, way more than football ever did.”
The former All-American and All Pac-10 football player at Cal now works at Fox Sports as an NFL analyst and also hosts a podcast called “Wide Open” featuring interviews with people like Jessica Alba, Michael Strahan, and Scooter Braun. While Gonzalez has achieved a lot both on and off the field, nothing would have been possible without his mother Judy.
“My mother was a big role model in my life. My mom is a rock… she’s from the south side of Chicago and she was a single parent for a while,” said Gonzalez. “My parents got divorced when I was really young. There was about six or seven years where it was just us and we were living on welfare. We never felt like we were poor, we always felt like we had things.”
During his NFL career, Gonzalez was a 14x Pro Bowler and had over 15,000 yards receiving. While the former Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons tight end faced a lot of tough competitors, a few defenders stick out in particular.
“Rodney Harrison… Kam Chancellor was a tough matchup, Steve Atwater when I first got in the league,” said Gonzalez. “It was a different league back then. You go over the middle and they could hit you. The NFL has changed rules to make it safer, but football was no joke back then. It has become a little bit more glamorous now. That’s why you see some of these guys having attitudes now. It’s more entitled now because there is no fear there.”
Gonzalez is one of just two players from the University of California to ever make the NFL Hall of Fame. The other is former Los Angeles Ram Les Richter. Gonzalez was inducted in August alongside Champ Bailey, Ed Reed, Ty Law, and Kevin Mawae.