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Atlanta's Gonzalez thriving in his 16th NFL season

Associated Press Modified: October 12, 2012 at 5:04 pm •  Published: October 12, 2012
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"Any team that we play from here on out, as long as we keep doing what we're doing, they're going to be gunning for us," Gonzalez said. "They are going to bring their best, and I expect nothing less from the Raiders. They're going to be primed to get an upset."

Though he's 36, Gonzalez looks to be in excellent health. The 6-foot-5, 243-pound former standout at California has missed just two games since Kansas City drafted him in the first round of 1997, and his production has continued at an unprecedented rate.

He credits a new stretching regimen with making him quicker, and he also added basketball to his offseason activities for the first time in three years. Gonzalez, who played in 82 games with 16 starts at Cal, has enjoyed taking the block move he uses when playing the post in basketball to beating man-to-man coverage on the football field.

"It's the same move, but maybe now I'm just exploding out there a little bit quicker whereas before it was a little bit slower," Gonzalez said. "That's the difference. I was just talking to our strength coach that to be successful in the NFL, for most players, it's not about how fast I can get from this point to the end of the locker room. It's about how fast I can get from this point to that point, right there (2 feet apart). It's that quick."

It also seems that Gonzalez has learned to compensate and keep his statistics soaring.

He last year moved past Marvin Harrison and Cris Carter to become the league's second-leading career receiver behind Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice. Gonzalez needs one touchdown catch to reach 100 and claim the eighth-best number in NFL history.

"If I had any other goal coming into this year besides getting to the Super Bowl, that was it," Gonzalez said. "I'm glad I'm coming up to it. Hopefully I get it this week, but if not, I'm sure it will happen sooner or later."

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