It's unknown at this time what drug Gates tested positive for. Gates, in a statement, said he was unaware that he took a banned substance.
"In my 12 years in the NFL, I have taken tremendous pride in upholding the integrity of the NFL shield and all that it entails," Gates said. "I have taken extreme care of my body with a holistic approach and I have never knowingly ingested a substance that was banned by the NFL. In an effort to recover from this past season, I used supplements and holistic medicines, and unfortunately, I have now learned that those substances always present a risk because they may contain banned substances even if the ingredient list doesn’t reflect them.
"As an NFL veteran and team leader, I should have done my due diligence to ensure that what I was taking for recovery was within the NFL guidelines. I understand that I am responsible for what is in my body and I have always believed that ignorance is no excuse when it comes to these issues. I take full responsibility for my actions. I’d like to express my sincere apologies to the Chargers, my teammates, coaches, fans and the league who have always supported me and expected and gotten nothing but the highest level of integrity from me."
With Gates out for four games, the Chargers will turn to Ladarius Green as the team's top tight end, though it was expected for Green to continue getting more looks in the passing game. Green is entering the final season of his rookie contract.
The Chargers expressed disappointment in Gates for his suspension but plans to stick with the longtime veteran through the suspension.
"We are tremendously disappointed for our team and our fans as well as Antonio, but no more disappointed than Antonio is with himself," the Chargers stated. "Antonio is a member of the Chargers' family and we will continue to support him 100-percent. We have the utmost confidence he will stay in excellent shape for the season and be ready to go when he returns in Week 5. While it's unfortunate to not have him to start the season, we have complete confidence our tight end group will continue to play at a high level."
"As you get older, people say things," Gates said per U-T San Diego. "They make speculations about where you're going, about how much you have in the tank. To me, it's all about how I feel as a person, how my body feels physically and mentally. As of right now, I feel great physically. I'm in a great place mentally. So, we'll see how it goes. I have no expectations for how long I'll play or if this is my last year."
Old Man River, otherwise known as
Gates played 787 snaps in 2014, which ranked 17th at his position and proved far more than many younger tight ends. He was also more productive than nearly all of them with 69 catches for 821 yards and 12 touchdowns, the second-highest total of his career. But while promoting a boxing match in Detroit, he told Monday Morning Quarterback that he would like to scale it back in 2015.
"With injuries and whatnot, I played a little bit more than they expected me to play last season," he said. "I was playing the whole game. How I feel next year, it depends on how much volume they have me doing. I'd like to come in on third-and-7s, red zones, those situations. That's what my contribution is at anyway."
His plan would give young, athletic
Although he will be 35 years old next season, tight end
"Yeah, I feel good," Gates said, per ESPN. "Obviously, when you finish a season, you’re going to have some soreness, with the wear and tear of an NFL season. But for the most part, I feel like I’m a Charger for life. That’s my gut feeling. I try to do everything to display that on the football field.
"But I still understand that things happen. And you can control only what you control -- your attitude, your passion and how you go about your business. Those are the staples of who I am. I try to lead by example, and that’s what I’ll do this offseason."
Gates has played a full season two years in a row. He totaled 12 touchdowns in 2014, as well as totaling more than 800 receiving yards for a second straight season.
A bad afternoon for the
Gates tried to put up some decent numbers in the loss to Kansas City that knocked his team out of the playoffs. He caught four passes for 67 yards. He was targeted six times.
Gates also became the 44th player in NFL history to amass 10,000 receiving yards in his career.
He ends the season with 69 receptions for 820 yards.
|2003||San Diego Chargers||15||11||24||389||16.2||48||2||7||1||19|
|2004||San Diego Chargers||15||15||81||964||11.9||72||13||14||1||55|
|2005||San Diego Chargers||15||15||89||1101||12.4||38||10||16||0||62|
|2006||San Diego Chargers||16||16||71||924||13.0||57||9||14||1||49|
|2007||San Diego Chargers||16||16||75||984||13.1||49||9||15||1||54|
|2008||San Diego Chargers||16||16||60||704||11.7||34||8||8||0||39|
|2009||San Diego Chargers||16||16||79||1157||14.6||56||8||18||1||61|
|2010||San Diego Chargers||10||10||50||782||15.6||48||10||15||1||42|
|2011||San Diego Chargers||13||13||64||778||12.2||38||7||8||0||45|
|2012||San Diego Chargers||15||15||49||538||11.0||34||7||5||0||30|
|2013||San Diego Chargers||16||15||77||872||11.3||56||4||11||1||49|
|2014||San Diego Chargers||16||14||69||821||11.9||34||12||12||0||44|
|2003||San Diego Chargers||15||5||5.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2004||San Diego Chargers||15||1||1.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2005||San Diego Chargers||15||4||4.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2006||San Diego Chargers||16||1||1.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2007||San Diego Chargers||16||2||2.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2008||San Diego Chargers||16||1||1.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2009||San Diego Chargers||16||1||1.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2010||San Diego Chargers||10||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2011||San Diego Chargers||13||3||3.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2012||San Diego Chargers||15||2||2.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2013||San Diego Chargers||16||2||2.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2014||San Diego Chargers||16||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
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|2006||San Diego Chargers||16||0||0||0||1||0||4||1||0|
|2007||San Diego Chargers||16||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2008||San Diego Chargers||16||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2009||San Diego Chargers||16||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2010||San Diego Chargers||10||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2011||San Diego Chargers||13||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2012||San Diego Chargers||15||0||0||0||1||0||0||1||0|
|2013||San Diego Chargers||16||2||2||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2014||San Diego Chargers||16||1||0||0||1||0||0||1||0|
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