Tony Gonzalez got his start in the NFL after the Kansas City Chiefs chose him 13th overall in 1997.

Fortunately for the Kansas City Chiefs, Gonzalez proved to be the right choice. He played every game in his rookie season, and by the following season, he had made the full-time starting lineup. He improved every year, and in 1999, Gonzalez had amassed 849 receiving yards en-route to 11 touchdowns and was honored as an All-Pro. 

He continued playing for Kansas City until he joined the Atlanta Falcons in 2008, a year after he married October Gonzalez. By that time, Gonzalez had already gotten his fifth All-Pro honor and was one of the best tight ends in the NFL. He spent five years with Atlanta and secured his sixth and final All-Pro honor before retiring in 2013.

Gonzalez enjoyed a long 17-year career in the NFL and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018. He is one of football's greatest ambassadors, but much of his success can be credited to his older brother.  

Tony Gonzalez's Parents and Family

Growing up, Gonzalez and his older brother, Chris Gonzalez, never had their biological father around. Their parents were separated, and their mother married Saltzman when they were 11 and 13, respectively. Saltzman later became an important figure in their lives. 

Known as Michael "Pop" Saltzman, their stepfather offered advice and often worried about Chris because, as young boys, it was Chris, not his younger brother, that loved football. 

He was a talented athlete, but, while he was still young, an unfortunate car accident made it difficult for him to make it through community college football. So he encouraged Gonzalez to take up the sport and lived vicariously through him.  

Fortunately for the brothers, Gonzalez was blessed with the talent. His journey to football fame and the brotherly bond between the two was featured in Gonzalez's documentary Play It Forward.

Tony Gonzalez's Ethnic Background

During his decades-long career, Gonzalez was commonly mistaken as a Mexican because of his family name. 

But in reality, the tight end has no Mexican heritage. Instead, he is of African-American nationality with Scottish ancestry. His Latino roots come from his grandfathers from Portugal and Argentina.

Gonzales often visited Mexico during his NFL prime and even learned Spanish during his trips down south and helped inspire many Latinos and Mexicans.

When he started, there were not too many Latinos in the league.

Latino people come up to me and tell me all the time they played football because they watched me with the Chiefs, and they looked up to me and loved me when they were growing up. They tell me I was their inspiration. 

He also shared that people thanked him for representing Latinos in the NFL. Even Gonzales looked up to Latino player Anthony Munoz, a former Falcons and Chicago Bears lineman. The tights end wanted to be like him and even played like him for a while. 

Gonzales served as an inspiration for many Latino folk, but he has since passed on that torch to other players after his retirement.