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Antonio Gates Retires... Future 1st Ballot HOF'er

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https://fox5sandiego.com/2020/01/14/chargers-great-antonio-gates-officially-retires/

Chargers great Antonio Gates officially retires

POSTED 11:58 AM, JANUARY 14, 2020, BY MATT MEYER, UPDATED AT 12:07PM, JANUARY 14, 2020

 

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Tight end Antonio Gates, of the then-San Diego Chargers, at Cowboys Stadium in 2009. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES — Chargers legend Antonio Gates, who played most of his accomplished, 16-season career with the team in San Diego, has officially retired.

Gates announced the decision with a post on Twitter late Tuesday morning.

“After 16 seasons in the NFL, 16 seasons as a Charger, eight Pro Bowl appearances and many records broken, I find it hard to officially put this statement out and retire from the game of football,” Gates wrote.

“While today I am officially retiring as a Charger, I am grateful that I will still be lending my services to the Chargers organization – just now in a completely different capacity through the team’s community engagement initiatives and public facing events.”

pic.twitter.com/xBodShSjw7

— Antonio Gates (@AntonioGates85) January 14, 2020

 

Across his storied career, Gates “helped revolutionize the tight end position,” NFL.com’s Kevin Patra writes. He was named to eight Pro Bowls, made three First Team All-Pro teams and broke the all-time touchdown record for tight ends.

Gates enjoyed his greatest success alongside veteran quarterback Philip Rivers: The two had a combined 89 career touchdowns, the most of any quarterback-tight end combination in NFL history.

He did not play football in 2019, after the Los Angeles Chargers declined to re-sign the 39-year-old.

“I’m looking forward to beginning the next chapter of my career and am grateful for the opportunity to be back around the team and our fans,” Gates wrote Tuesday. “Thank you to everyone who has been part of this remarkable journey with me. I can’t wait to see what’s next.”

He will become eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2023. FOX 5 Sports Anchor Troy Hirsch has little doubt that’s where he will end up:

Next stop for Antonio Gates: Hall Of Fame! pic.twitter.com/pVRceN22h5

— Troy Hirsch (@troyhirschfox5) January 14, 2020

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I saw him play basketball at Kent State, in the 2002 NCAA Tounament when they reached the Elite 8.  We were there in Lexington, KY to support the Golden Flashes since my Dad got his Masters at Kent St.  

I've been following his career ever since.  Just a tremendous athlete who likely could have been an NBA player too. 

Pretty amazing that Gates, a lock HOFer, didn't even play football in college.

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1 minute ago, Jetsfan80 said:

I saw him play basketball at Kent State, in the 2002 NCAA Tounament when they reached the Elite 8.  We were there in Lexington, KY to support the Golden Flashes since my Dad got his Masters at Kent St.  

I've been following his career ever since.  Just a tremendous athlete who likely could have been an NBA player too. 

Pretty amazing that Gates, a lock HOFer, didn't even play football in college.

You're sh*ttin' me. Wow. 

I didnt know that. 

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Two more players for the HOF went to the waiting list today

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5 hours ago, Villain The Foe said:

You're sh*ttin' me. Wow. 

I didnt know that. 

Yessir.  He played HS Football, but only basketball in college.  

College career[edit]

Originally, Gates enrolled at Michigan State University wanting to play football under then-coach Nick Saban as well as basketball under coach Tom Izzo. Upon enrolling, he learned that Saban wanted him to play only football.[7] Gates then chose to pursue playing basketball by transferring to Eastern Michigan University. He played there part of a season before transferring to the College of the Sequoias, a junior college in California, to focus on academics. Recruited by Stan Heath, Gates transferred to Kent State University in northeastern Ohio.

 

He was told his chances of getting drafted for basketball were unlikely.  At 6-4 they called him a "tweener".  NBA teams weren't as open to those types as they are now.  Then again he would have had to develop a 3-point shot now, so perhaps it never would have worked out.

Either way, the NFL was of course the right move.  He came in well under the radar as a UDFA and agreed to try out for several teams.  The Chargers saw him first, saw a ton of potential, and signed him right away. 

The precedent of a guy like Tony Gonzalez, who also played basketball in college at Cal, succeeding at TE set the table for Gates.  Basketball players are great at catching tough passes at the highest point, and use their hands rather than their body to make catches.  That was a big reason why Gates was so successful in the pros. 

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Knew he played basketball but never thought to think he didn’t play college football. That’s just insane 

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8 hours ago, Barry McCockinner said:

I thought he retired 3 years ago ...

Me too 

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Gonzalez and Gates were sort of the NFL equivalent of Jeter, A-Rod and Garciaparra.  Although there weren't the first to do it, they collectively redefined the view of TEs into a true high-volume offensive threat.  Gates will certainly follow Gonzalez into the HoF. 

Funny that the next two great TEs after them were Graham and Gronk.  Maybe we should only draft TEs whose last names start with 'G'.

 

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8 hours ago, nycdan said:

Gonzalez and Gates were sort of the NFL equivalent of Jeter, A-Rod and Garciaparra.  Although there weren't the first to do it, they collectively redefined the view of TEs into a true high-volume offensive threat.  Gates will certainly follow Gonzalez into the HoF. 

Funny that the next two great TEs after them were Graham and Gronk.  Maybe we should only draft TEs whose last names start with 'G'.

 

Now it’s the K’s

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17 hours ago, jetsjets said:

Knew he played basketball but never thought to think he didn’t play college football. That’s just insane 

They tried doing the same thing with Rashard Kent who was a PF at Rutgers

 

He spent like 2 days on the Texans practice squad and is now in prison

 

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