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10 Questions For Antonio Gates

SAN DIEGO - NOVEMBER 5:  Tight end Antonio Gates #85 of the San Diego Chargers looks on against the Cleveland Browns on November 5, 2006 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California.  The Chargers won 32-25.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
James StephensContributor IMay 22, 2009

Since he entered the league in 2003, San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates has been one of the most explosive players at his position. Gates, who played basketball in college instead of football, is blessed with a unique skill set.

At 6'4" and 260lbs, Gates has the speed and moves of a big wide receiver, and possesses great body control, leaping ability, and a pair of soft hands. These skills, combined with a great understanding of the game, have helped Gates amass 400 receptions, for 5,066 yards, and an amazing 51 touchdowns in only six seasons.

Below is a list of questions I hope to ask the all-pro tight end in an interview. I will ask Gates about the transition from basketball to football, how injuries are affecting him, and if and when his Chargers might finally win the Superbowl.

 

James Stephens - You and Tony Gonzalez are the most productive tight ends in the NFL, and both of you played college basketball. Many people say that your basketball backgrounds have led to your success at the tight end position. If this is true, why haven't more players who couldn't make it in the NBA tried the NFL?

Antonio Gates -

JS - Turnovers are killers in the NFL, yet you only have two fumbles on 400 career receptions. What techniques do you use to maintain such great ball security?

AG -

JS - You are no doubt one of the best receiving tight ends in football, but some critics claim that you are a below average blocker? Are these claims valid, and if so, what are you doing to improve this part of your game?

AG -

JS - The last two seasons have ended with pretty severe injuries for you, and your numbers dipped quite a bit last year as well. Are the hits beginning to take their toll on your body, or should we expect to see you dominating opposing defenses this season?

AG -

JS - The Chargers appear to be much healthier than last year heading into training camp. How important is it to have most everyone healthy and participating in training camp?

AG -

JS - What does the return of Shawne Merriman mean to this team, both on the field and in the locker room?

AG -

JS - The Chargers have started slow the last two years. Many people, fans, analysts, and some former players, blame (head coach) Norv Turner for the team's slow starts. How do you respond to that?

AG -

JS - While Norv has his critics as a head coach, few people question his knowledge of NFL offenses. How, specifically, does Norv make this offense better?

AG -

JS - The Chargers have a lot of weapons on offense. Who is the one offensive player most likely to have a breakout year this season?

AG -

JS - The Chargers are widely viewed as one of the most talented teams in the league, yet keep coming up short in the playoffs. What does this team need to do to get over the hump and win a Superbowl?

AG -

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