It's hard to picture Tony Gonzalez spending a month with no one to talk to.

But there was the Kansas City Chiefs' all-pro tight end in the tiny Mexican town of San Miguel de Allende, sitting at the dinner table unable to understand a word of the conversation flying past him. The words were Spanish, and Gonzalez was just starting to learn the language.

"It's one of the best things I've ever done in my life," Gonzalez said.

It's a life that started in California, where Gonzalez played football, basketball and baseball. Unlike many members of his family, he never learned anything but English. Actually, his heritage is more Portuguese than Mexican.

So for a month this summer, Gonzalez lived with a Mexican family in San Miguel de Allende, where he had to speak almost nothing but Spanish. Language classes lasted six hours per day. And at times, it got lonesome.

"The first week I was down there I was thinking, 'What the hell am I doing? I'm supposed to be on vacation. This is ridiculous,' " he said.

He's planning additional study next year in Costa Rica and hopes to continue regular lessons during the season.

"It's a way to reach out to the Latin community in Kansas City," he said. "There aren't many football players other than kickers who are Latin."

-- From News Services