Tony Gonzalez is leaving Fox Sports to focus on TV and film projects, sources told Front Office Sports on Thursday night.
The former Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons tight end has been an NFL studio analyst on the “Fox NFL Kickoff” pregame show since 2017. He’s also been prominently featured on Fox’s top-rated “Fox NFL Sunday” pregame show as well as the network’s “Thursday Night Football” pregame show.
But the 45-year old football star’s chiseled good looks and strapping 6’5″ frame make him a natural for Hollywood. He made his feature film debut in the 2017 movie “xXx: Return of Xander Cage” starring Vin Diesel. He also had a recurring role as special agent Tony Francis on “NCIS” from 2014-2016.
During his 17-year career, Gonzalez set all-time NFL records for tight ends in both receptions (1,325) and receiving yards (15,127). He ranks third in all-time receptions behind Jerry Rice and Lary Fitzgerald. The 14-time All-Pro was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2019.
Gonzalez would have been a natural to eventually succeed some of the long-serving cast members of the top-rated “Fox NFL Sunday,” like Jimmy Johnson (78 years old) and Terry Bradshaw (72 years old).
Michael Vick or Emmanuel Acho could succeed Gonzalez on “Fox NFL Kickoff,” said a source. Earlier this week, Fox hired ex-ESPN analyst Mark Sanchez as a game analyst.
Gonzalez started his sports TV career with CBS Sports in 2014. In a shakeup of its “NFL Today” cast, CBS brought in Gonzalez and dropped Dan Marino and Shannon Sharpe.
Gonzalez’s representatives declined to comment.