NFL Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez pushes multisport participation

August 7, 2019 / Coaching
Former NFL tight end Tony Gonzalez credits multiple sports with his development as a young football star, and he wants today’s athletes to follow his lead.

Tony Gonzalez chiefsGonzalez spoke Saturday during the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Canton, Ohio. The six-time All-Pro, who is second to Jerry Rice in career receptions (1,325), was inducted during his first year of eligibility.

During his speech, Gonzalez reminisced about his years as a young athlete in southern California. The longtime Kansas City Chief is most known for his background in football and basketball, but his résumé is much more diverse. He’s encouraging his own kids to take the same path.

“I have four kids,” he said. “The best thing they can do is play. I was a skateboarder and learned a lot of my balance from it. Surfing, volleyball on the beach. All different sports backgrounds makes you a better athlete. Collectively, they all feed off each other.”

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Gonzalez also said it’s important to be strong in heart and mind.

“Be fearless, and focus,” he said. “I believe (success), it’s in your heart and your mind. I learned this just from watching the greats.”

Gonzalez lettered in football and basketball at Huntington Beach High School and played both sports at the University of California. During his junior year with the Cal basketball team, he played in 28 games and averaged 6.8 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.

Professional coaches, athletes and sports medicine experts overwhelmingly agree that it’s better for kids to play multiple sports. Studies have shown that specialization can lead to burnout and a higher rate of injury, but some continue to believe it’s the best route to a college scholarship.

Watch Gonzalez’s Hall of Fame speech to hear more of his comments.

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