Posts Tagged ‘Antonio Gates’

The Los Angeles Chargers agreed to terms Sunday with free agent Antonio Gates, bringing the iconic tight end back for his 16th season, the team announced.

The move comes a day after Los Angeles placed up-and-coming tight end Hunter Henry on the physically unable to perform list. Henry underwent surgery for a torn ACL in May and isn’t expected to play this season.

Gates, who celebrated his 38th birthday in June, posted 30 receptions for 316 yards and three touchdowns across 16 appearances last year. He’s spent his entire career with the Chargers and is a lock for future enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers openly campaigned for Los Angeles to re-sign Gates following Henry’s injury. Despite a decline in production over the last three years, Gates has continued to serve as a security blanket for Rivers on short routes.

The Chargers are slated to open the regular season Sept. 9 versus the Kansas City Chiefs.

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Tight end Antonio Gates remains a free agent a few weeks out from training camps, but an old teammate believes the future Hall of Famer is alright with that.

“I believe the only place Antonio wants to play is the Chargers … I think he has the mind frame of ‘if I go play it’s gonna be for the Chargers if it’s not the Chargers then I’m good, I won’t play,” former running back LaDainian Tomlinson said on SiriusXM NFL Radio.

The Chargers allowed Gates to become a free agent at the beginning of the 2018 league year when his previous contract officially expired.

The team was expected to hand over the starting tight end job to 23-year-old Hunter Henry, but Henry suffered a torn ACL in an offseason practice and was ruled out for what would have been his third season.

Chargers general manager Tom Telesco and quarterback Philip Rivers have both hinted at the possibility of a return for Gates, who has spent the entirety of his 15-year career with the Chargers organization, but nothing has materialized yet. Veteran Virgil Green remains atop the Chargers’ tight end depth chart.

Tomlinson serves as a special assistant in the Chargers’ front office and played with Gates for seven seasons.

In wake of the season-ending injury to Hunter HenryLos Angeles Chargers general manager Tom Telesco appeared receptive Friday to the possibility of re-signing tight end Antonio Gates.

“Would be a natural fit, right? I saw that Philip voted for it,” Telesco wrote online in a chat with Chargers fans, according to Sean Wagner-McGough of CBS Sports. “When it comes to roster moves, we are not a democracy. But we are not a dictatorship either. His vote was noted and accounted for. Antonio’s accomplishments and contributions to this organization are immeasurable. We will see what the future holds. I don’t have an update at this time.”

Gates has spent the entire offseason in free-agency, seemingly failing to attract interest from teams around the NFL. The Chargers previously announced they weren’t going to bring back the 37-year-old, but Henry’s torn ACL has forced Los Angeles to at least reconsider that stance.

Rivers, who’s been teammates with Gates since 2004, recently endorsed the idea of re-signing his longtime tight end.

Gates is the Chargers’ all-time leader in catches, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns.

With his top tight end already ruled out for the 2018 season because of a torn ACL, Philip Rivers hopes the Los Angeles Chargers are receptive to the idea of bringing back Antonio Gates for a 16th season.

“I’d always be excited if he walked back in the door,” Rivers said Tuesday of his longtime teammate, according to Jack Wang of the Los Angeles Daily News.

The Chargers announced publicly at the end of April they would not re-sign Gates, a free agent who’s spent his entire career with the franchise.

The 37-year-old was surpassed on the depth chart permanently last season by Hunter Henry, but the season-ending ACL injury suffered by Henry recently leaves the Chargers with a major hole at tight end.

“It would get my vote,” Rivers added when asked about the possibility of reuniting with Gates for another campaign.

Even with his athletic abilities in decline, Gates has remained a reliable target in the short-passing game for Rivers over the past few seasons. The two have been Chargers teammates since 2004.

Gates, who notched 316 yards and three touchdowns receiving across 16 contests last season, hasn’t appeared to attract significant interest as a free agent.

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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.”