Gates announced Tuesday that he has retired from professional football.
The 39-year-old's playing days already looked to be over after he went unsigned during the 2019 season, but Gates has now made his retirement official. He'll step away from the game as one of the most accomplished tight ends in NFL history and as a franchise icon for the Chargers, with whom he spent all 16 years of his career. He earned Pro Bowl selections in eight of those seasons, including three consecutive first-team All-Pro nods between 2004 and 2006, during which he recorded 22 touchdowns. Gates likely has a spot waiting for him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame when he's first eligible for induction in 2024.
Gates could still return for his 17th season with the Chargers, according to head coach Anthony Lynn, Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com reports.
The Chargers head coach seemed emphatic about the veteran's potential return, saying it was "absolutely" possible, but then later downplayed the possible interest, suggesting the organization was in "wait-and-see" mode. In any matter, if Gates were to return he likely would play a minimal role considering Hunter Henry (torn ACL) is expected to be fully healthy for the start of training camp, and the ever reliable Virgil Green is still in the fold.
Gates' representation is expected to meet with GM Tom Telesco at some point during the NFL Scouting Combine to discuss the veteran tight end's possible return for a 17th season, Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com reports.
This shouldn't come as much of a surprise given Gates seemed to indicate following the Chargers' divisional-round loss to the Patriots that he was interested in returning to the team in 2019. However, with Hunter Henry expected to be fully healthy following a preseason torn ACL and Virgil Green still in the mix, it's unclear how many snaps would even be available if the soon-to-be 39-year-old returned for another season.
Gates indicated after Sunday's divisional-round loss to the Patriots that he's open to returning for the 2019 season, Sam Fortier of the Athletic reports.
After coming out of retirement this past offseason to help the Chargers replace an injured Hunter Henry (knee), many assumed Sunday's playoff game would be Gates' final time lacing up the cleats. However, it seems the 38-year-old has a desire to play another season. The question entering the offseason will now be whether Los Angeles feels he can still be a worthwhile contributor. The team is set to have both Henry and fellow tight end Virgil Green under contract in 2019.
Gates caught five of eight targets for 41 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 41-28 divisional-round loss to the Patriots.
Gates and quarterback Philip Rivers combined for one last hurrah in the final minute, connecting on an eight-yard touchdown with 59 seconds remaining. The 38-year-old tight end came out of retirement to play one more campaign after Hunter Henry tore his ACL in the offseason, but this was almost certainly the last game of Gates' illustrious career. He chipped in 28 catches for 333 yards and two touchdowns in the regular season, bringing his career totals to 11,841 yards and 116 touchdowns on 955 catches. Expect to see Gates' name at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton one day.
Gates caught all four of his targets for 35 yards in the 23-17 wild-card win over the Ravens on Sunday.
Gates was far and away Philip Rivers' main target on critical third downs, as Rivers utilized the veteran tight end's knack for route running to move the chains on multiple occasions. The fact Gates surpassed his 2017 receiving numbers in 2018 despite playing in 134 fewer offensive snaps should be an indication of his role in the Chargers' current offense, but it seems unlikely the rest of the team's skill position players will be held in check in a similar way to that of the wild-card contest going forward in the playoffs.
Gates caught three of his five targets for 21 yards in Saturday's 22-10 loss to the Ravens.
Through 15 games this season, Gates has logged 28 catches (on 43 targets) for 333 yards and a pair of TDs. While those numbers are well below what the 38-year-old posted in his top seasons, Gates has been targeted five times in each of his last two games, a degree of involvement that gives him modest fantasy utility in deeper PPR formats.
Gates caught four of his five targets for 54 yards in the win Thursday over the Chiefs.
Losing Keenan Allen (hip) meant that Antonio Gates immediately asserted himself as Philip Rivers' favorite target between the 20s, gravitating past his usual checkdown role to actually snag a couple of longer receptions. It's encouraging to note that Gates could be a relevant fantasy asset should the situation arise, but with just two weeks left in the regular season it seems asinine to suggest the veteran tight end could be counted on to consistently put forth this type of production.
Gates caught his only target for 18 yards in the 45-10 win over Cardinals on Sunday.
Antonio Gates and third-string tight end Sean Culkin caught their lone receptions, as the tight ends as a whole were hardly featured in a game that quickly became a blowout. The ageless veteran has struggled to get involved for much of the season, but he'll look to have a greater impact in what figures to be an offensive shootout against the Steelers next week.
Gates (knee) caught five of seven targets for 80 yards and a touchdown during Sunday's 23-22 loss to the Broncos.
Gates finished second on the team in targets as he set season highs in catches and yardage. He topped his day off with a 6-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter for his second score of the season. Gates had topped 27 receiving yards just once this season, so this outstanding performance came out of nowhere for the veteran, who dealt with a knee injury of late. He'll look to follow it up next Sunday against the Cardinals.
Gates (knee) is listed as active for Sunday's game against the Broncos.
Gates is a low-volume option in the Los Angeles offense these days, and with just one touchdown in nine games to date, the 38-year-old tight end is largely off the fantasy radar.
Gates (knee), who is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Broncos, is expected to play, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.
Gates missed a couple of practices this week before getting on the field Friday in limited fashion. Though that will likely be enough for the 38-year-old to avoid an absence, he's no longer a major part of the Los Angeles offense at this stage of his career, averaging just 2.5 targets per game. Expect Gates to once again split work at tight end with blocking specialist Virgil Green.
Gates (knee) is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Broncos.
Gates was sidelined for the Chargers' first two practices of the week while managing the knee issue, but was back on the field Friday in a limited capacity. If Gates ends up being ruled out Sunday, fellow tight end Virgil Green would see a modest uptick in his Week 11 fantasy outlook.
Gates (knee) was a non-participant in Thursday's practice.
There wasn't any indication that Gates was hurting coming out of Sunday's 20-6 win over the Raiders, but his back-to-back absences from practice so far in Week 11 suggest otherwise. The Chargers will likely need to see Gates put in some on-field work Friday before signing off on his availability for this weekend's showdown with Denver.
Gates didn't practice Wednesday due to a knee issue.
Gates still has a couple of days to return to practice in advance of Sunday's game against the Broncos. Given that he's been a low-volume option in the Los Angeles offense of late and has just one touchdown in nine games, Gates largely remains off the fantasy radar.
Gates caught one of his two targets for 18 yards in the 20-6 win over the Raiders on Sunday.
The veteran tight end has rarely been needed the past two weeks as the Chargers have maintained a comfortable margin throughout both games. That might not be the case next week as the Chargers face off against their bitter division rival, the Broncos.
Gates secured two of his three targets for 11 yards in Sunday's nail-biting 20-19 win over the Titans.
At this point, any notion of the veteran tight end returning to his former fantasy glory has to be cast aside, as Gates has seen over 16 percent of the target share just twice this season. He remains a fantastic option to move the chains when called upon, but the lack of targets and snaps (13 to Virgil Green's 32 on Sunday) would suggest Gates is not a rosterable fantasy asset at this stage of his career.
Gates caught just one of his two targets during the 38-14 win over the Browns on Sunday.
Neither Gates nor Virgil Green had to do much in this one, as the Chargers easily jumped out to a massive first-half lead. The veteran tight end has caught more than two passes just once through the first six weeks of the season and remains a very low-end fantasy option, at best.
Gates caught both of his targets for 19 yards in the 26-10 win Sunday over the Raiders.
Gates was used minimally during the game as the Chargers held a comfortable lead throughout. The veteran tight end has played over 30 snaps just once through five weeks, and remains a longshot in terms of a fantasy option.
Gates caught two of his five targets for 27 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 29-27 win over the 49ers.
Gates corralled his first touchdown of the season late in the first quarter, gathering in a five-yard red-zone pass to put the Chargers up seven points in the opening frame. Other than the touchdown, however, the ageless veteran put together another typically mundane performance, ripping off a 22-yard catch-and-run for his only other play of the game. Virgil Green's grasp of the starting spot was as firm as ever Sunday, as the former Broncos tight end participated in 74 percent of the team's offensive snaps compared to just 34 percent for Gates. Unless that ratio drastically changes, neither tight end will make for a particularly consistent fantasy producer.