Antonio Gates has officially called it a career folks, announcing it via Twitter on Tuesday. Now, Gates will stand alone as the best tight end in franchise history; and one of the greatest ever in the sport.
Gates will become eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2023.
In a news release issued by the team, Gates thanked everyone from Chargers owner Dean Spanos to his own family to the team's fans in San Diego and Los Angeles. During his career, he was selected to eight straight Pro Bowls (2004-2011) and was named an All-Pro five times in his career (2004-2006, '09-10). 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.More news: Wendy Williams Hit With Major Backlash After Mocking Joaquin Phoenix’s ‘Cleft Palate’
He played in 236 games (190 starts) in his career, amassing 955 catches for 11,841 yards with 116 touchdowns. Among TEs, he ranks first in National Football League history with 21 career multi-touchdown games and fourth with 21 100-yard receiving performances.
When he appeared on "The Dan Patrick Show", Gates told how he devoted so much of his life to basketball that high school got through and believed that this would be his future.
Gates originally traveled to MI to play soccer under Saban and basketball with Tom Izzo, the Spartans' head coach.More news: MS Dhoni's India career in doubt after losing central contract
McCourty has had the unfortunate task of defending Gates over the last decade, and even in his later seasons, the tight end was a major issue for the Patriots defense, especially on third downs.
He would go on to have one of the most illustrious careers for a tight end. He signed with Chargers in 2003 as an unsolicited rookie and made an immediate impression. 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.
Gates managed zero catches on just one target, and the Chargers lost 35-21. Who would've thought that many years later we would have the most touchdowns ever between a quarterback and tight end? "Rewriting the record book is obviously part of it, but when you needed a big block, needed to convert that first down, needed a steadying voice in the huddle or leadership in the locker room, that was Antonio". And, he is a lock to be a first ballot Hall of Famer.More news: Drew Pearson Reacts Angrily over Exclusion from Hall of Fame