Posts Tagged ‘Antonio Gates’

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Antonio Gates wasn’t going to miss out on the opportunity to see LaDainian Tomlinson officially become football royalty.

After several days of uncertainty about whether Gates would be at his former teammate’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony Saturday – uncertainty that started after a report suggested the Chargers wouldn’t let Gates and Philip Rivers miss training camp to attend – the veteran tight end ultimately got the green light.

But that’s not to say he was really seeking permission. As Gates told Marty Caswell of Mighty 1090 before the ceremony got underway, he was prepared to make the trip to Canton, Ohio even if the Chargers fined him for a brief training-camp absence.

“Absolutely,” Gates said. “I would’ve paid the fine twice to be here.”

Rivers didn’t join Gates for Saturday night’s induction ceremony, but the quarterback did pass along a congratulatory video message recorded from the end zone where Tomlinson broke the single-season touchdown record in 2006.

The star trio combined to lead a stellar offense in that season and each of the three that followed, posting top-five scoring finishes and capturing AFC West titles in four straight years.

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Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn is blocking veterans Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates from attending the Aug. 5 Hall of Fame induction ceremony for their former teammate, LaDainian Tomlinson, sources told Alex Marvez of Sporting News.

Lynn is insisting that Rivers and Gates participate in the Chargers’ training camp session instead, adds Marvez, which will be their first at StubHub Center.

Gates is still considering attending the ceremony despite Lynn’s wishes, even if he’s fined, one source told Marvez.

Marvez notes that it’s common for teams to grant exceptions for active players to attend Hall of Fame ceremonies for former teammates, pointing to the Arizona Cardinals allowing Larry Fitzgerald to miss practice for Kurt Warner’s induction this weekend.

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Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates have been synonymous with the Chargers for nearly 15 years, but the dynamic duo is still ringless as the end of their careers loom.

Running back Melvin Gordon said Friday on NFL Network that Los Angeles is motivated to help the team’s two eldest statesmen earn a Super Bowl title before they hang up their cleats.

“Father Time is coming with my boy (Antonio) Gates and (Philip Rivers),” Gordon said, according to NFL.com’s Jeremy Bergman. “It would mean a lot to get those guys that ring before they step down, especially Gates. I think we might lose him after this year; you never know with Gates. But it would be love to have him walk away with a ring and put that stamp on his career, so that’s definitely what we want.”

The 37-year-old Gates flirted with retirement this offseason, but ultimately opted to return, likely partly due to being one score away from breaking a tie with Tony Gonzalez for the most touchdowns by a tight end in NFL history.

While Rivers, 35, appears to have a larger window in which to capture his elusive first title, it’s possible the move away from San Diego to L.A. will cause him to question how much longer he wants to play.

Gordon will need to continue his ascension if the Chargers are to emerge as contenders. In 2016, the third-year back rebounded from a disappointing rookie season in which he failed to score a touchdown by finding the end zone 12 times and falling three yards short of 1,000 rushing yards due to a late-season injury.

Now, Gordon has his sights on adding some bling to his hand after getting a look at New England Patriots running back James White‘s ring collection.

“Winning season, man. We want a Super Bowl,” Gordon explained. “My boy James White, he has two of those things. I go to his apartment and you open up the little case and they’ve got the light flashing on the ring. All you can think about is I wish that could be me.”

NFL: Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers

As Antonio Gates gets set to enter his 14th season, there’s no telling how much further the San Diego Chargers tight end will go.

“It’s so hard to say,” the 36-year-old told Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Gates, a Chargers mainstay and future Hall of Famer, admits he doesn’t know if this will be his last season in the NFL.

“It’s getting close. I don’t know how close,” he said of retirement. “I think about it more now than I ever did. I talk about it more now than I ever did. Days come up and I’m like, ‘Oh man, I don’t know.'”

He enters the year with 844 career receptions, 10,644 receiving yards, and 104 career touchdowns. He played in 11 games in 2015 – missing the first four games due to a PED suspension that he attributed to “supplements and holistic medicines” – tallying 630 receiving yards and five touchdowns.

Gates said he’ll keep playing as long as he can keep producing.

“If I can find some way to get the most out of me, that in my mind is efficient enough, where I feel I’m playing at a level I’m comfortable with,” he said.

“I’ve never come off the bench. I’ve never not contributed. So if it ever got to that point where I am not doing that, I don’t know how I would feel as a person. All that stuff is still remaining to be seen when I play.”

He also has a number of milestones within his reach. He’s 356 receiving yards away from 11,000 total and he can surpass Tony Gonzalez as the all-time leader in career touchdowns by a tight end with eight more trips to the end zone.

“For me, it’s about still playing well and being productive. And at the same time, winning a Super Bowl is the priority. So I have some things I can get done,” Gates said. “I feel like if I get utilized in the right way, in the right manner, the right amount of times, I can still help win football games.”

But with his skills diminishing while the punishment he endures on Sundays is unrelenting, Gates knows the day he hangs up his cleats draws near.

“I’m on third base coming home.”

San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the regular season for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances.

Gates underwent a renaissance performance of sorts, recording 69 receptions for 821 yards and 12 touchdowns, the second-highest single-season total of his career in the latter category.

“We are tremendously disappointed for our team and our fans as well as Antonio, but no more disappointed than Antonio is with himself,” the Chargers said in a statement Thursday. “Antonio is a member of the Chargers’ family and we will continue to support him 100-percent. We have the utmost confidence he will stay in excellent shape for the season and be ready to go when he returns in Week 5. While it’s unfortunate to not have him to start the season, we have complete confidence our tight end group will continue to play at a high level.”

Widely considered one of the preeminent players at his position during his 12-year career, Gates was named to eight consecutive Pro Bowls from 2004-2011.

Gates also released his own personal statement on the sanction Thursday.

“In my 12 years in the NFL, I have taken tremendous pride in upholding the integrity of the NFL shield and all that it entails. I have taken extreme care of my body with a holistic approach and I have never knowingly ingested a substance that was banned by the NFL. In an effort to recover from this past season, I used supplements and holistic medicines, and unfortunately, I have now learned that those substances always present a risk because they may contain banned substances even if the ingredient list doesn’t reflect them. As an NFL veteran and team leader, I should have done my due diligence to ensure that what I was taking for recovery was within the NFL guidelines. I understand that I am responsible for what is in my body and I have always believed that ignorance is no excuse when it comes to these issues. I take full responsibility for my actions. I’d like to express my sincere apologies to the Chargers, my teammates, coaches, fans and the league who have always supported me and expected and gotten nothing but the highest level of integrity from me.”

In Gates’ absence, Ladarius Green will be thrust into the starting tight end role for the Chargers. Green was primed as Gates’ successor and caught 19 passes for 226 yards last season while largely being utilized out of sub-packages.