Antonio Gates is an eight time Pro Bowler and five time All-Pro tight end for the San Diego Chargers. Gates missed six games during the 2010 NFL season, but led San Diego with 782 receiving yards, 10 touchdown receptions, five receptions per game and 78 yards per game. Gates was on pace for 80 receptions, 1,251 yards and 16 TD receptions in 2010. Gates was tied for first among tight ends with Rob Gronkowski and Marcedes Lewis for TD receptions in 2010 and was fourth in receiving yards among tight ends in 2010. Gates missed three games last season, but led the Chargers in receptions, receptions per game, was second with seven TD receptions and third in receiving yards. Gates was fourth among NFL tight ends in TD receptions, 10th in receptions and receiving yards.
Gates was hindered by a foot injury the last two seasons, but led all tight ends in receiving yards, was fourth in receptions and TD receptions during the 2009 season when he played in all 16 games. The Lightning Bolts need Gates to stay healthy with the loss of Vincent Jackson in free agency to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. San Diego had the number one offense in 2010 when Jackson only appeared in five games, but it was a group effort as Legedu Naanee was Jackson’s primary replacement and he only had 23 receptions for 371 yards and one touchdown. Robert Meachem will definitely be more productive than that this season.
There was an article on the NFL’s website questioning whether or not Gates deserved to make a Pro Bowl last season. Gates had 64 receptions, 778 yards and seven touchdowns which placed him 10th, 10th and fourth in these respective categories among tight ends. He was on pace for 79 receptions, 957 yards and nine TD receptions, which would have placed him fifth, third and third among tight ends. If Gates can stay healthy, I expect him to have a big season.