rainn.png
Friday January 24th, 2020 3:46AM

Antonio Gates announces retirement following 16-year career

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

Antonio Gates, who became one of the most prolific tight ends in the NFL without playing a down of college football, announced his retirement Tuesday.

Gates spent his entire 16-year career with the San Diego and Los Angeles Chargers. His 116 touchdown catches are the most by a tight end in league history.

“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 organization," he said in a statement. “I want to thank the Chargers organization, Dean Spanos and the Spanos family, and the National Football League for the opportunity to live out a dream and play the game I love.”

Gates, who did not play this season, will join the Chargers front office as a legends ambassador. He is the franchise leader in receptions (955), receiving yards (11,841) and touchdowns. His 220 regular-season games are second. He had eight seasons when he had eight or more touchdowns and 21 multi-TD games.

Among tight ends, Gates' receptions and yards are third, and his games rank fourth. He was a three-time selection to the All-Pro team as well being picked for the Pro Bowl eight times. He will be eligible for consideration for the Pro Football Hall of Fame beginning with the Class of 2024.

“He no doubt is one of the greatest tight ends to ever play the game. He is the master of a pivot three and a seven route. He ran all of the others pretty dang good also,” said Philip Rivers, whose 89 TD passes to Gates make them the most prolific QB-TE duo in league history. “He was so hard to cover that we had a ‘Gates Rule’ in the QB room. We would talk through the reads and the plays and they all had a ‘Gates Rule.’ It pretty much meant, if he is one on one, throw it there.”

Gates played football at Detroit Central High School. He originally went to Michigan State to play football and basketball but left when Nick Saban only wanted him to play football. He transferred to Eastern Michigan but would eventually end up at Kent State, where he led the school to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament in 2002.

His 6-foot-4 frame didn’t draw much interest from NBA scouts, but his hands and footwork did attract NFL scouts, who were aware of Gates’ high school career. He signed with the Chargers as an undrafted rookie in 2003 and made an immediate impact. The first of his 21 100-yard games came in a Week 9 win over Minnesota, the first by a Chargers rookie since Wayne Walker in 1989.

Gates helped the Chargers to seven postseason appearances. His TD in last year’s divisional-ound loss at New England made him the oldest tight end in league history with a score (38 years, 209 days).

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

“Antonio redefined what the tight end position looks like and is responsible for how we evaluate and view the position in today’s NFL,” he said. “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. He didn’t just do one thing well, he did everything well. And that’s what makes him a first ballot Hall of Famer in my book.”

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

___

Follow Joe Reedy at www.twitter.com/joereedy

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, College Sports, AP Sports - College Football, AP Sports - NFL
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Spain: Chemical plant explosion kills 1, injures at least 9
Regional authorities in northeastern Spain say a massive explosion at a petrochemical plant has killed one person and  injured at least nine others
4:47PM ( 6 minutes ago )
Debate to highlight vanishing diversity in Democratic field
When Democratic candidates for president step up to debate Tuesday night in Iowa, there won't be any black faces on the stage
4:36PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Antonio Gates announces retirement following 16-year career
Antonio Gates has announced his retirement
4:30PM ( 24 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
TV audience up slightly from last year for CFP championship
LSU's championship game victory against Clemson drew nearly 26 million viewers to ESPN, up slightly from last year's final
4:13PM ( 40 minutes ago )
Astros look ahead after firing of Hinch and Luhnow
Less than a month before the start of spring training, the American League champion Houston Astros are without a manager and general manager after AJ Hinch and Jeff Luhnow were suspended by Major League Baseball and then fired by team owner Jim Crane for a sign-stealing scheme
4:10PM ( 43 minutes ago )
Day Won: Browns' Stefanski impresses in roll out by Browns
Kevin Stefanski is ready to roll up his sleeves and build the Browns
3:31PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
Fallen journalists honored at LSU-Clemson championship game
Two sports journalists who recently died have been honored in the press box of the Superdome in Louisiana
11:12AM ( 5 hours ago )
Colton Underwood of 'Bachelor' fame has memoir out March 31
Colton Underwood of “Bachelor” fame is telling his story
10:03AM ( 6 hours ago )
Burrow, LSU cap magical season, beat Clemson 42-25 for title
Joe Burrow threw five touchdown passes, ran for another score and capped one of the greatest seasons in college football history by leading No. 1 LSU to a 42-25 victory against No. 3 Clemson Monday night to win the national championship
5:58AM ( 10 hours ago )
AP Online Football
Big East a beast again with four teams showcased in Top 25
The Big East is back in the spotlight with Butler moving to No. 5 in The Associated Press college basketball poll
1:39AM ( 15 hours ago )
STAT WATCH: FBS record for TD passes among feats by Burrow
A prodigious statistical season led to a national championship for Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow
1:29AM ( 15 hours ago )
AP source: Wazzu finalizing deal to make Rolovich head coach
Washington State is close to finalizing an agreement with Hawaii’s Nick Rolovich to take over as the Cougars' head football coach, according to two people with knowledge of the situation
1:22AM ( 15 hours ago )
College Sports
The Latest: Burrow sets record, LSU leading Clemson 35-25
Joe Burrow's magical season continues as the Heisman Trophy winner has set an NCAA record in the College Football Playoff championship game
11:24PM ( 17 hours ago )
The Latest: LSU leads Clemson 28-17 after entertaining half
The College Football Playoff championship hasn't disappointed after a long layoff
10:25PM ( 18 hours ago )
AP Sports - College Football
Hinch, GM fired for Astros sign stealing after MLB bans pair
The Houston Astros fired manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow after the pair were suspended by Major League Baseball for a sign-stealing scheme during the Astros' run to the 2017 World Series title
11:01PM ( 17 hours ago )
49ers expect different Packers team in NFC title game
The San Francisco 49ers aren't expecting a repeat in the NFC championship game when they face the Green Bay Packers less than two months after a 29-point blowout
9:07PM ( 19 hours ago )
A look back at other infamous cheating scandals in sports
With two recent World Series champions involved, baseball's sign-stealing controversy now takes its place alongside some other famous cheating scandals in sports
8:47PM ( 20 hours ago )
AP Sports - NFL
Debate to highlight vanishing diversity in Democratic field
When Democratic candidates for president step up to debate Tuesday night in Iowa, there won't be any black faces on the stage
4:36PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Dem senator says he has 51 votes to restrain Trump on Iran
A Democratic senator says he has at least 51 votes to support a bipartisan resolution asserting that President Donald Trump must seek approval from Congress before engaging in further military action against Iran
4:28PM ( 25 minutes ago )
Senate Republicans plan vote on US-Mexico-Canada trade act
Republicans controlling the Senate are taking advantage of delays in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial to speed up a vote on a modified North American trade pact
4:28PM ( 26 minutes ago )
Amid Iran and impeachment, Trump's focus is reelection
For President Donald Trump, there is impeachment, immigration, even Iran to worry about
4:27PM ( 26 minutes ago )
Black prosecutors back Gardner, say they've faced resistance
One day after St. Louis’ top prosecutor filed a federal lawsuit alleging a concerted and racist conspiracy to push her out of office, other black female prosecutors from across the U.S. are defending Kim Gardner, saying they’ve faced the same resistance in their own communities
4:26PM ( 28 minutes ago )