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Falcons making contingency plans for Gonzalez

NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Atlanta Falcons

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 20: Tony Gonzalez #88 of the Atlanta Falcons walks off of the field dejected after the Falcons lost 28-24 against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game at the Georgia Dome on January 20, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

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Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff said last week on NBC Sports Network’s Pro Football Talk that he thought tight end Tony Gonzalez’s return was still a “50/50” proposition.

And while they’re not going to rush him, they’d obviously prefer to know something for planning purposes.

“Simply stated, the sooner we know the better and yet there are no deadlines on this for Tony,” Dimitroff told D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Tony needs to come to his decision and be at peace with his decision.”

Dimitroff and his scouting staff will be taking a close look at the class of college tight ends in Indianapolis this week for a potential long-term fit, but if Gonzalez wasn’t going to play, they might be more inclined to look at a free agent for a more immediate contribution.

But Dimitroff made it clear Gonzalez was his preference.

“We have evolved and have been quite outspoken about our interest in having Tony back,” Dimitroff said. “He’s still a very adept and athletic tight end in our minds and can continue to help us win a lot of games. But again, it’s ultimately up to Tony to make that decision for himself and his family.”

If Gonzalez makes them wait too long, they could miss out on potential targets, which would require adjusting the offense. They could use wide receiver Harry Douglas more out of the slot, but Gonzalez is such a problematic matchup that replacing him is going to be nearly impossible no matter how they try.