The Future Hall of Fame tight end was in a similar situation a year ago, until Telesco brought the then 38-year-old Tight End back when Hunter Henry went down. Gates only helped the Bolts get to 12-4 and a second-round playoff exit. Gates even mentions he didn’t see his last Chargers memory being a playoff loss to the Patriots. The veteran’s presence is enough to cause defenders to focus on him when he’s on the field. Teams know that he is Rivers favorite target. Gates turned 39 years old a few months ago and he doesn’t need the preseason to get ready. He knows the offense inside and out and he and Rivers have remarkable chemistry. With a healthy Hunter Henry Gates can still produce near the end zone and on 3rd down situations. The Chargers should find plenty of red zone opportunities. The All-Time TD leader for Tight Ends has been on very talented teams but this is the most complete team he’s been a part of. We all know Rivers is lobbying for his buddy to come back.
Gates is tied with Larry Fitzgerald for 12th all-time at 116 TDs in his career. Like I said, no other Tight End has had more. With Hunter Henry being the headline at the position every Sunday, Gates can maneuver down the seem and get open for big plays. Nothing like he used to make in his prime but the veteran can still find holes in the defense. Gates finished last season with 33 catches for 333 yards and 2 touchdowns. Rivers and Keenen Allen are the most vocal about bringing the old-timer back. We’ll have to wait and see if the Chargers bring “Gatesy” back for one last ride.