When Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez officially retires -- and he remains "95 percent" certain it will be after this season -- his career will include a treasure chest of memories playing against the Raiders.
"First game I ever won against them, my second game of the season on Monday Night Football," Gonzalez told Bay Area reporters by conference call Wednesday morning. "We won on the last play of the game with Andre Rison.
"My longest catch ever came against them -- 73 yards out there in Oakland. I've done pretty well against them, but they've broken my heart. We had a 17-0 lead at home, they came back and beat us. (Sebastian) Janikowski has broken my heart a couple of times."
Gonzalez, 36, faces the Raiders at the Georgia Dome on Sunday for the first time in a uniform other than that of the Kansas City Chiefs.
After catching 13 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown against the Washington Redskins, the NFL's second-leading all-time receiver behind Jerry Rice is atop the league with 39 receptions for the unbeaten (5-0) Falcons.
"He's still moving good, he still understands how to run a route and get himself open, and he catches everything that's anywhere close to him," Raiders coach Dennis Allen said.
Having not played against the Raiders since 2008, Gonzalez admits to having withdrawals after preparing for emotionally charged games twice a season for 12 years.
"I miss that terribly," Gonzalez said. "That was a
A defensive coach with Baltimore and Jacksonville before coming to Atlanta, Falcons coach Mike Smith doesn't see much of a drop-off from the present Gonzalez to the one who excelled for the Chiefs coming out of Cal in 1997.
"I don't see a lot of difference," Smith said. "He's beaten father time in my mind."
Gonzalez trails only Rice with 1,188 catches, having moved past Marvin Harrison (1,102) last season. Needing 361 more receptions to catch Rice, Gonzalez has no illusions about going out on top.
"Absolutely not. Are you out of your mind?" Gonzalez said. "I'd have to play another five years. I see Jerry every offseason, and if that subject comes up I'm always telling him, 'Man, your record is safe.' Even if there's a slight chance I did come back next year, that would be the last year. That record is safe with Jerry -- that and 'Dancing with the Stars.' I ain't doing that, either."
With that, Gonzalez left open a sliver of doubt about coming back for another season.
"I'm having some fun, but I haven't changed my mind at all," Gonzalez said. "I'm still at 95 percent. I'm never going to say 100 percent. I'm just enjoying it one week at a time. I'm lucky enough to stick around this long. To end it like this, playing with some great players, a great quarterback, great receivers outside, it's a lot of fun."
Raiders strong safety Tyvon Branch thinks Gonzalez has learned a lot of tricks about getting open in 16 seasons.
"Tony's one of those veteran guys that's been playing for a while, so he gets away with a little more than most guys," Branch said. "But he's a good target, and Matt Ryan has a lot of confidence in him."
Branch thinks constant change is the best way to go at Gonzalez.
"Diversifying your defense is the best defense," Branch said. "In any sport, being able to adjust is best way to guard anyone, so I'm sure we're going to throw some different looks at him."
Gonzalez By the numbers
13,726: Receiving yards, 10th in NFL history and most among tight ends.
121/1,473: Career receptions and receiving yards in 24 games with the Kansas City Chiefs against the Raiders.
1,188: Career receptions, second to Jerry Rice (1,549) in NFL history and most among tight ends.
39/388: Catches and receiving yards in 2012, the most of any tight end in the NFL.
99: Career touchdowns, tied with Don Hutson for eighth-all time.
13: Consecutive seasons with 60 or more receptions, the most in NFL history.
Raiders (1-3) at Atlanta (5-0), 10 a.m. CBS
Notebook: Raiders on the rebound after bye week.