According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Gates wants to continue playing, but Los Angeles already informed him the team doesn't plan to bring him back.
The 37-year-old had a two-year deal that ran through the 2017 season but is currently a free agent.
When asked about the situation earlier this week, general manager Tom Telesco was noncommittal about a reunion.
"I understand it’s a big topic," Telesco said, per Jack Wang of the Los Angeles Daily News. "I just don’t have an update on it right now."
Although the veteran appeared in all 16 games last season, he finished with just 30 catches and a career-low 316 yards. He has seen his role diminish in each of the past few years, coinciding with the rise of 2016 second-round pick Hunter Henry.
Henry finished 2017 with 45 catches and 579 yards, both ranking third on the team, and he figures to have a bigger role with Gates leaving. L.A. also added Virgil Green this offseason to provide some depth.
While Gates clearly lost his value with Los Angeles, he could still contribute even in a part-time role as a big target (6'4", 260 pounds) who can make catches all over the field. Without much depth at the position across the league, there could be openings for teams that missed their targets during the draft.
If this does signal the end of his career, Gates will retire as a sure-fire Hall of Famer and one of the best tight ends in NFL history.
The undrafted free agent out of Kent State is an eight-time Pro Bowler and three-time first-team All-Pro. He has 114 career touchdown receptions, topping Tony Gonzalez for the most ever by a tight end. His 927 career catches and 11,508 yards also put him in rare territory.
Unfortunately, it doesn't seem as though he will add to his numbers with the Chargers.