FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. —
Neither Gonzalez nor coach Mike Smith said how many days the player will miss, but both added there’s no cause for concern. Both insist the absences won’t affect his job performance.
“There’ll be some time that he’ll be here in training camp, and some time where he won’t,” Smith said. “I think those decisions were made prior to him deciding whether he was going to play again. We’re glad he’s here. He’s going to be here for a while, and then he’s going to be gone. Then he’ll be back.”
Added Gonzalez, “I’ll join the team early. I’m not going to be showing up the week before the game. I’ll be out here a lot earlier than that, but I’ll be ready to go, too. You can bet the house on that.”
In past years, Gonzalez never tried to hide his disdain for training camp. Too much work that caused too many bodies to wear down during in the season, he often said, but the NFL’s new collective bargaining agreement limited the number of workouts and how much players had to wear pads.
It helped further that Smith routinely gives players in his “over-30 club” extra time off during the season, and Gonzalez appreciated that the Falcons had allowed him in past years to miss all of the offseason workouts.