San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates has helped revolutionize the position. Coming along just after Tony Gonzalez began to turn into an all-time great with the Kansas City Chiefs as a former basketball player, Gates did much of the same. Gates played basketball at Kent State and caught on with the Chargers in 2003. since then, he has been to eight Pro Bowls and has been an All-Pro five times.
However, Robert Klemko of The Monday Morning Quarterback believes this will be Gates’ last year with the Chargers.
This will be Antonio Gates’ last season as a Charger. Is that strong enough? His decline has been obvious since his streak of eight consecutive Pro Bowls ended in 2011. Even though last year’s 113 targets were the most he’s had since 2009 as the offense emphasized quicker throws, Gates still failed to gain more than 50 yards receiving in each of the last six regular-season games. He had three catches for 15 yards over two playoff games. He’s now slow enough for elite linebackers to check him one-on-one, as well as a liability in run blocking. Besides, 24-year-old backup Ladarius Green impressed as a pass-catcher last season and Gates would carry an $8.2 million cap hit in 2015. He’s a legend in powder blue, yet as Bill Parcells likes to say, sooner or later they ask everyone to get off the train.
Gates was very productive once again in 2013 – he made 77 catches for 872 yards and four touchdowns. In his career, he has 719 receptions for 9,193 yards and 72 touchdowns. Although he just turned 34, it seems unlikely he would retire even if the Chargers are done with him.