Chargers' Antonio Gates Issues Statement Regarding His Retirement

LTGates

Antonio Gates announced the end of his career in the Hall of Fame on Tuesday. Now, Gates will stand alone as the best tight end in franchise history; and one of the greatest ever in the sport.

To the fans in San Diego, Los Angeles, across the country and around the world, thank you for your unwavering support all these years.

He's seen league-wide honors several times over his career as well; Being named a Pro-Bowl selection eight times, five Associated Press All-Pro teams designations, three Sporting News First Team All-Pro selections, an NFL All Decade Team member from 2000-09, and named to the Chargers' 50th Anniversary All-Time Team. He went pretty well with everyone else, "said Philip Rivers, whose 89 TD passes to Gates are the most productive QB-TE duo in the history of the league".

His 6-foot-4 frame was not of great interest to the NBA Scouts, but his hands and feet attracted the NFL Scouts, who were aware of Gates' high school career. He retires as the Chargers' career leader in receptions (955), receiving yards (11,841) and touchdown catches (116).

Among tight ends, Gates' receptions and yards are third, and his games rank fourth.

Gates originally traveled to MI to play soccer under Saban and basketball with Tom Izzo, the Spartans' head coach.

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"We would talk through the reads and the plays and they all had a 'Gates Rule, ' " Rivers explained. He signed with Chargers in 2003 as an unsolicited rookie and made an immediate impression.

His 6-foot-4 frame didn't draw much interest from National Basketball Association scouts, but his hands and footwork did attract NFL scouts, who were aware of Gates' high school career. The first of his 21 100-yard games was a week 9 win over Minnesota, the first to be won by a Chargers newcomer since Wayne Walker in 1989.

What he's meant to our family, to his teammates and to Chargers fans everywhere over the years - there are no words.

"I remember my second year we basically put 3 guys on him...#BEAST...congrats", McCourty wrote.

General manager Tom Telesco is hopeful Gates will not have to wait long for his chance to get into Canton.

Gates helped revolutionize the tight end position. He not only did one thing well, he did everything well. And, he is a lock to be a first ballot Hall of Famer.

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