As Antonio Gates goes, so go the San Diego Chargers. Since his arrival to the Chargers in 2003, Gates has been the real deal at tight end and the real threat for opposing teams in the NFL. The Chargers need the real Gates again–the 6’4” 260lb tight end that NFL defenses feared in 2005 and who had 89 receptions for 1,105 yards.
When Gates gets the ball, the Chargers win. When he doesn’t catch, the ball the Chargers lose. It’s not complicated. The Chargers need to get him the ball. In 2006, he had 71 receptions and San Diego went 14-2. This season, even though he played in 15 games, he only had 49 receptions and the Chargers finished a disappointing 7-9.
Clearly, the team needs him at his best. So do the fans.
Charger fans need Gates the fighter and the underdog back. You know, the Gates who played college basketball at Kent State and helped take his underdog team all the way to the Elite Eight. The guy who had no professional basketball offers because he was only 6’4” and a power forward. So, he chose to work out for NFL teams and see if he had what it takes to play professional football.
The Chargers really need the Gates who, in five of his 10 NFL years has averaged 1,000 yards a season. They need to get him the ball because as Gates goes, so go the Chargers.
In the last few years, the Chargers haven’t been going very well—and they won’t if they don’t have the real Gates.