Antonio Gates is INACTIVE for Chargers

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports /

The San Diego Chargers are facing a must-win game against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday afternoon at Qualcomm Stadium, and they will be going without one of their best offensive weapons.

The Chargers are without tight end Antonio Gates, who warmed up on the field before the contest but was declared inactive. Gates has been dealing with a sprained MCL that he suffered during last week’s defeat against the Green Bay Packers, and could not recover quickly enough.

Gates has only played in two games this season. The future Hall of Fame tight end was suspended for the first time in his career for taking performance enhancing drugs, banning him for the first quarter of the regular season. Without Gates, the Chargers went 2-2 and oddly enough, are 0-2 with him in the lineup. Both defeats have come in the final seconds.

Gates has been very productive in what most people believe is his final season. The 35-year-old has 18 catches on 27 targets, racking up 187 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns. After this season, Gates will become a free agent, forcing the team to make a decision on his future.

Throughout his career, Gates has totaled 10,201 yards and 71 touchdowns. He has never reached the Super Bowl, only getting to the AFC Championship Game once. An argument could be made the Gates is the second-best tight end of all-time, only behind Tony Gonzalez of the Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons.