Antonio Gates has spent his entire 13-year career with the San Diego Chargers, and it appears that won't change, as NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported Wednesday morning that the two sides had agreed to terms.
Gehlken reported on March 1 that the "combine meeting between Chargers and [Gates'] rep went well, reaffirmed mutual interest for 14th season in [San Diego]." Gehlken added at the time that it was "likely only a matter of time" before a deal was reached.
reported on Feb. 1 that Gates and the Chargers remained hopeful he would return despite hitting unrestricted free agency.
Gates, who turns 36 in June, made 56 receptions for 630 yards and five touchdowns in 2015. He was limited to 11 games due to a four-game suspension for performance-enhancing drug use and a one-game absence due to a knee injury. That marked the first time in more than two full seasons Gates had missed a game.
Gates remains quarterback Philip Rivers' favorite safety net when he's on the field. Given the skill sets of running back Danny Woodhead and wideout Keenan Allen, the Chargers arguably have the game's best underneath passing game when that trio is on the field. Add a downfield threat, and the team could have a bounce-back 2016 with Ken Whisenhunt returning as offensive coordinator.
The Chargers were a disappointing 4-12 last season, a record Gates said he had no interest in repeating.
"I don’t want to go out this kind of way," Gates said, per Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune. "I don’t want to go out as a loser. Winning is the way, ideally, you want to go out. ... I want to make one more run at it, and then if it doesn’t work, be like, 'OK.' That’s just my feeling right now."
The Chargers have made the playoffs only once in the last six seasons and have won four playoff games in Gates' entire career.
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