Gates retires from NFL

Ross Houston
January 16, 2020

The legendary Los Angeles Chargers tight end has taken to Twitter to announce his retirement from the National Football League, ending an illustrious 16-year career. In his last season in the NFL, Chargers' Antonio Gates caught 28 passes for 333 yards and two touchdowns in 2018.

Born on June 18, 1980, Gates was a former college basketball star who never played football while at Kent State.

That 2004 season was the first of many great ones for Gates, who proceeded to make eight straight trips to the Pro Bowl between 2004 and 2011, including three consecutive First-Team All-Pro selections between 2004 and 2006.

"I never dreamed that I would play this game of football so long or how fortunate I would be to play it with just one organisation", Gates said in a statement.

"As I officially retire today, I am grateful that I will continue to provide my services to the Chargers organization - now in a completely different role through the team's community engagement initiatives and publicly accessible events".

Gates ended his career as a career manager at receptions (955), received yards (11,841) and touchdown catches (116). Among tight ends, only Tony Gonzalez and Jason Witten caught more passes and racked up more receiving yards.

"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 said. "But for right now I simply want to say thank you, Antonio, and congratulations on a career for the ages".

Football - and all sports - should have more cases exactly like Gates. Now, Gates will stand alone as the best tight end in franchise history; and one of the greatest ever in the sport. He hauled in a seven-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Philip Rivers against the Miami Dolphins on September 17, 2017 - his 112th career touchdown reception - passing Tony Gonzalez in all-time touchdowns among tight ends. His teammates always were seeking his guidance. An wonderful teammate, competitor, and overall player, Gates no doubt left a lasting legacy amongst players, coaches, and fans alike.

Thanks to his personal accomplishments, Gates will certainly be a Hall of Fame candidate although it remains to be seen whether or not his efforts will not just be recognized but rewarded as well.

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