Regarded as one of many finest Chargers of all-time, and a participant who revolutionized his earn 22 situation, is formally filing his retirement paperwork.
Tight conclude Antonio Gates launched Tuesday he’s formally striking up his cleats.
“After 16 seasons in the NFL, 16 seasons as a Charger, eight Knowledgeable Bowl appearances and loads records broken, I to find it laborious to formally put this remark out and retire from the game of football,” acknowledged Gates in an announcement.
“I by no potential dreamed that I could perhaps perhaps play this sport of football see you later or how fortunate I’m capable of be to play it with right one group. I comprise to thank the Chargers group, Dean Spanos and the Spanos household, and the Nationwide Football League for the different to reside out a dream and play the game I love. And to the fans in San Diego, Los Angeles, across the country and world wide, thanks on your unwavering enhance all these years. There’ll seemingly be no NFL without you.
“While this day I am formally retiring as a Charger, I am grateful that I will serene be lending my products and services to the Chargers group — in the present day in a truly different capacity by way of the group’s community engagement initiatives and public facing events.
“Thank you to everybody that helped me originate recollections that will final a lifetime, both on and off the realm. Thank you to my agent, Tom Condon, and management group, Denise White and EAG, for helping me navigate this sport over the previous 16 years. Thank you to my household on your love and enhance by way of the years, and a different thanks to my kids — I am hopeful to comprise left a legacy that you are going to also be satisfactory with, now not right as a football participant but additionally as a father.
“I’m taking a notice forward to starting up the next chapter of my occupation and am grateful for the different to be serve around the group and our fans.
“Thank you to everybody who has been section of this excellent hasten with me. I’m capable of now not wait to behold what’s next.”
Famously a college basketball participant who by no potential played football at the college stage, Gates caught the understand of the Chargers in a workout and signed as an undrafted free agent in 2003. The leisure is historical previous.
The tight conclude grew to change into realistic one of basically the most prolific pass-catchers in NFL historical previous. Gates finishes his occupation with 116 touchdowns, most from a upright conclude in league historical previous. He ranks seventh all-time in TDs. Philip Rivers’ long-time safety blanket, Gates was a matchup nightmare in the crimson zone, where he could simultaneously field out defenders and sky excessive for passes.
Gates helped revolutionize the tight conclude earn 22 situation. Among TEs, he ranks first in NFL historical previous with 21 occupation multi-touchdown video games and fourth with 21 100-yard receiving performances. Gates and Rivers blended for 89 occupation touchdowns, most of any QB-TE combo, and 2d-most among any duo.
Owning the athleticism to burn slower linebackers and the originate to bully defensive backs, Gates was a mismatch at some stage in the realm. The 39-year-extinct will change into eligible for the Knowledgeable Football Hall of Repute in 2023 after now not playing in 2019.
“Antonio was an unselfish participant who had the capacity to attain right about all the pieces it is seemingly you’ll moreover own of on a football arena,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn acknowledged. “Bustle right routes. Retract up a key block. Hang greater than a receiver. You mostly needed to yarn for #85’s whereabouts and serene, intellectual all this, he managed to rob extra touchdowns than any tight conclude to ever play the game. Alternatively it wasn’t until I had the privilege of coaching him that I seen his most important talent: management. His teammates constantly had been looking out for his guidance. They right desired to be around him. And, to a individual, no questions requested, they’d apply him. Combine all these factors; could to boot starting up fitting Antonio for a gold jacket upright now.”
Completely Hall of Repute great, Gates helped the Chargers earn four AFC West titles from 2006-2009 and was named to eight Knowledgeable Bowls and and three first-group All-Knowledgeable teams.
Even come the conclude of his occupation, when Father Time began to amass his due, Gates returned when accidents ravaged the Chargers TE corps to serve the finest group he knew. In 16 seasons with the Chargers, Gates recorded 955 receptions, 11,841 receiving yards and 116 TDs, all group records.
Now all he wants to attain is rep fitted for that gold jacket that is definite to come serve down the avenue.