Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez and Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis are donning their familiar AFC Pro Bowl uniforms for the 10th time in their careers. Now the question is, will Gonzalez and Lewis play in their other familiar uniforms in 2009.
Gonzalez is pondering whether to ask new Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli, whom he has yet to meet, to trade him so he would have a better chance to play for a contender before he retires as a player in a couple of years.
As a member of a cellar-dwelling team loaded with young players, Gonzalez is faced with several unknowns, not the least of which is the fact the Chiefs have yet to name a replacement for fired head coach Herman Edwards.
“I’m at a situation where I don’t know what I want to do, and on top of that, I don’t know what they want to do,” Gonzalez said. “If I did ask for a trade, Scott and (team owner) Clark Hunt could say, ‘No, we need you around here. We think you’re going to help us get to where we want to go.’ But I only have a couple of years left. And then, also, how quickly can this team turn the corner? I know (Pioli) is going to come in and be successful. He’s going to bring in the best head football coach he can bring in here, and we’re going to be a good team because we’ve got a good group of young players.
“But how quickly can we get to that point? So would it be beneficial and work out for both sides if I get traded to a team where I think I can win and then they could get another draft choice where they could build for the future? Hopefully, it would make sense for something like that to happen because we’ve still got a lot of holes.”
On March 1, Lewis is scheduled to become a free agent, along with fellow Ravens LBs Terrell Suggs (appearing in his third Pro Bowl) and Bart Scott.
“It’s kind of hard to even think about any of that,” Lewis said of the prospect of joining another team if the Ravens don’t re-sign him. “The business side is going to take care of itself, so bottom line, I’m just going to kind of sit back and let it take care of itself. And I’ve always done that.”
Does he expect to remain with the Ravens?
“It’s not about what I expect,” Lewis said. “There’s no expectation for me, (saying), ‘Oh, I want to be here, I want to do this.’ None of that means anything. The bottom line is I will be buckling up a chinstrap at the beginning of next year. That’s all that really matters.”