Antonio Gates

Antonio Gates

Infobox NFLactive

currentteam=San Diego Chargers
currentposition=Tight end
birthdate=birth date and age|1980|6|18
birthplace=Detroit, Michigan
debutteam=San Diego Chargers
* 4x Pro Bowl selection (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007)
* 3x All-Pro selection (2004, 2005, 2006)
* List of his records
college=Kent State
* San Diego Chargers (2003-present)

Antonio D. Gates (born June 18, 1980 in Detroit, Michigan) is an American football tight end for the San Diego Chargers of the National Football League.

College career

Before his rookie season of 2003 Gates had not played organized football since his senior year at Central High School in Detroit. Gates wanted to go to Michigan State under then-coach Nick Saban and assistant coach Kevin C. to play both football and basketball but Saban wanted him to play only football. Basketball was his favorite sport so he transferred to Eastern Michigan University to play basketball. He played there part of a season, subsequently played at two junior colleges and eventually landed at Kent State University in northeast Ohio. Gates spent two seasons as a Golden Flashes power forward where he led the team to the MAC championship and an Elite Eight spot in 2002 and to the MAC championship game the following season, during which he averaged 20.6 points per game, 4.1 assists, and 7.7 rebounds per game.

NFL career

an Diego Chargers

After being told by scouts that he was too much of a "tweener" (6'4") to make the NBA, Gates arranged a workout in front of NFL scouts. As many as 19 teams were believed to have contacted Gates about a try out. Gates chose to work out first for the San Diego Chargers. Recognizing his enormous potential, the Chargers immediately signed him to a contract as an undrafted free agent.

After finishing a solid 2003 rookie season he caught 24 passes for 389 yards and two scores, he was picked by many experts to have a breakout season in 2004. They also thought that Baltimore Ravens TE Todd Heap could not compare to him. That year, only his second season in the NFL, Gates became quarterback Drew Brees' favorite target, finishing the season with 81 receptions for 964 yards and 5 touchdowns. On December 19, Gates tied the NFL season record for touchdowns by a tight end (13) in a 21-0 win over the Cleveland Browns, and he went on to break that record in an overtime loss to the Indianapolis Colts on December 26. Gates was selected to the 2005 Pro Bowl and caught a TD pass from Colts' quarterback Peyton Manning to help the AFC to a 38-27 victory. Additionally, Gates was on the receiving end of a 33 yard pass from teammate Drew Brees in a flea-flicker play selected by fans online.

On August 23, 2005, after holding out for a contract extension, Gates inked a six-year deal worth up to $24 million with the San Diego Chargers. Because of his holdout, Gates was suspended one game the home opener against the Dallas Cowboys. Gates went on to have another stellar season, catching 89 passes for 1,101 yards and 10 touchdowns, but the Chargers missed the playoffs by a slim margin. Many attributed missing the playoffs to the loss to Dallas. Looking back, many assumed that had Gates played, the Chargers would have beaten the Cowboys and thus ended up 10-6 and likely in the playoffs. While this may have been true, the Chargers played poorly in the second half of the season, losing three of the their last four, and therefore Gates' suspension (and the loss to Dallas) was not the only reason they missed the postseason.

With the departure of Drew Brees during the offseason, it was assumed that Gates would suffer a decline in production in 2006 with first-year starter Philip Rivers at the helm. Gates had a relatively quiet start to the season, but he finished the year strongly and ended up with 924 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. He caught two touchdown passes on Dec. 10 against Denver to help the Chargers clinch their division.


Gates has said he is leaning toward having surgery to repair a dislocated left big toe that slowed his performance during the playoffs. Gates said he will decide whether to have surgery or not. "There is higher chance I'm going to have surgery." said Gates. Gates also pulled out of the Pro Bowl because of his injuries alongside his teammate LaDainian Tomlinson.

On February 23, 2008, Gates said he will have foot surgery to fix the injury that has hurt him in the final part of the season. He will face a 4-6 month recovery time. He seems questionable for Week 1 and even sounded worried about his status for Opening day.

Facts and records

* Since 2004, only Indianapolis Colts wide-receiver Marvin Harrison and New England Patriots wide-receiver Randy Moss have caught more touchdowns than Gates.
* In 2005 and 2006 Antonio Gates was selected as the NFL's All-Pro TE by the AP. Gates was the AP's only unanimous choice for 2005. []
* Gates has made four consecutive Pro Bowls in his career.
* Gates also holds the single season touchdown reception record for tight ends with 13.
* In 2005 Gates became only the second tight end in NFL history, behind Todd Christensen, to gain 1,100 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns in a single season.
* He is on pace to shatter the NFL's career touchdowns record for tight ends, which is currently held by the active player, Tony Gonzalez of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Regular season stats


External links

* [ Official NFL Players' Page: Antonio Gates]
* [ San Diego Chargers Player Bio: Antonio Gates]
* [ Stats: Antonio Gates]
* [ ESPN.Com Kent State basketball statistics]

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