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'Mooch' coached Falcons star

January 22, 2013 - Burt Angeli
Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez, expected to retire after Sunday’s NFC Championship loss, played college football for Iron Mountain’s Steve Mariucci at Cal.

Gonzalez played football and basketball for the Golden Bears. He wanted to try two positions in the 1996 Aloha Bowl when two linebackers were hurt in a car accident.

"He came up to me and said, 'Coach, let me play both ways,' "then-Cal coach Mariucci told the San Jose Mercury News. "That's the kind of kid he was. He'd do anything to help the team win. If you had a handful of Tony Gonzalezes, you'd never lose."

Mariucci, who coached the 49ers the following season, wanted to draft Gonzalez.

"The darn Chiefs traded up and got him," Mariucci said of Kansas City's selecting Gonzalez 13th overall in the 1997 draft.



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