Are Antonio Gates' best days ahead of him?

By Kenny Gardner
Antonio Gates San Diego Chargers
Ed Mulholland-USA Today Sports

San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates became the franchise’s all-time leader in touchdown receptions last Sunday against the New York Jets.  Gates caught his sixth TD pass of the season and 82nd in his career.

According to Matt Calkins of, Gates said “I feel like I still have a lot more in the tank, honestly.  I wouldn’t sit here and say that if I didn’t.  I am pretty realistic about how this thing works.”

Gates continued by saying “But I think I feel good.  I am running better than ever at this point in my life.  I am more focused than ever, so I just see that the best is still to come.”

Gates is averaging 37.4 receiving yards per game to go along with six TD receptions and 3.4 receptions per game which makes this his second least productive season in his 10 years with San Diego.

Gates had a huge season in 2010 when his 10 TD receptions were tied for seventh in the NFL while his 78.2 receiving yards per game ranked eighth in the league.

Gates’ most productive game of this season was against the Denver Broncos when he had six receptions, 81 yards and two TD receptions.

Gates’ best days could be ahead of him, but he averaged 78.2 receiving yards per game in 2010, 59.8 in 2011 and averages 37.4 yards per game this season to go along with a career low 11.1 yards per reception.

San Diego’s offensive line has limited opportunities for Gates and his teammates because the Arizona Cardinals are the only team that has allowed more sacks than them.

Gates will be 33 years old next season, but after missing six games in 2010 and three games last season, Gates only missed one game this season.  A healthy Gates will go a long way in making his prediction true.


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