Report: Antonio Gates leaning toward playing in 2018
Antonio Gates has yet to say if he will return for a 16th NFL season, but it sounds as though he will not have to search for a new home if he decides to keep playing.
On Thursday, Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn told reporters that Gates will “absolutely” have a spot on the team’s roster if he wants one in 2018. Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reports that Gates is leaning toward playing.
If Antonio Gates wants to play a 16th season with #Chargers, is there still a role for him? Lynn: “Absolutely.” I’ve been told Gates is leaning towards playing. Lynn says he hasn’t had that discussion with Gates, but good exit meeting, still a leader.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 1, 2018
Gates is nowhere near the player he was at the height of his career, but it’s incredible that he has played this long as a tight end who specializes in catching passes. While his 30 receptions and three touchdown catches last season were the lowest marks since his rookie year, Gates appeared in all 16 games. That’s pretty impressive for a guy who will turn 38 this summer.
We can’t expect Gates to have a major role in the passing game if he plays next season, but his veteran presence would be welcome even if he plays limited snaps. Lynn obviously knows how valuable that can be.