KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Ahead of Thursday’s critical matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers, the Kansas City Chiefs welcomed one of their own home.

Tony Gonzalez stood in the end zone, just as he had 76 times during his 12-year career with the Chiefs. Only this time, he awaited the cue to bang the ceremonial drum to initiate the team’s tomahawk chant.

An hour and a half later, he stood in front of more than 70,000 fans to join the team’s exclusive Ring of Honor as the 2018 Chiefs Hall of Fame inductee.

Although Gonzalez didn’t address the crowd, he tweeted about his excitement ahead of the ceremony Thursday.

“There’s no match to the intensity that you get playing in Arrowhead Stadium!,” Gonzalez tweeted. “Can’t wait to experience it again tonight.”

The ceremony included the unveiling of a framed Gonzalez jersey and embrace with Chiefs CEO and Chairman Clark Hunt, along with his place in the Ring of Honor next to Carlos Carson.

Gonzalez played 17 NFL seasons with the Chiefs and the Atlanta Falcons. He set franchise records in Kansas City for receptions (916), receiving yards (10,940), receiving touchdowns (76) and 100-yard games (26).

A former first-round pick from the University of California-Berkeley, where he also played basketball, Gonzalez finished his career with the Falcons after he was traded for a second-round pick in 2009. He ranks second all-time in NFL history with 1,325 receptions, behind only Jerry Rice, and ranks second among all NFL tight ends with 111 career TDs.

He is the 48th member of the Chiefs Hall of Fame and the third tight end. He, along with a number of Chiefs alumni, also signed autographs in the Hall of Honor prior the Thursday’s game.

Gonzalez likely will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame next summer. This is the first year in which he is eligible to be placed into football’s top honor.

Brandon Zenner can be reached

at brandon.zenner@newspressnow.com.

Follow him on Twitter: @NPNowZenner.