Adam Schefter: Antonio Gates an Option for Chargers After Hunter Henry Injury

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 23, 2018

Los Angeles Chargers tight end Antonio Gates (85) greets fans before an NFL football game against the New York Jets Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Chargers suffered a serious blow Tuesday when tight end Hunter Henry suffered a season-ending torn ACL during OTAs, leading to speculation Antonio Gates could return to the team.

Adam Schefter of ESPN suggested Los Angeles "will have to consider bringing back" Gates, who is a free agent but played for the Chargers from 2003 through 2017.  

Henry, a second-round pick in 2016, figured to be the Chargers' tight end of the future with Gates in the twilight of his career. He tallied 478 receiving yards and eight touchdowns as a rookie and followed up with 579 receiving yards and four touchdowns last year.

Los Angeles already has Virgil Green on its roster, but he only has 71 catches for 807 yards since joining the NFL in 2011. He's best utilized as a blocker rather than a pass-catcher.

Even though Gates will turn 38 in mid-June, he has eight Pro Bowl appearances and three first-team All-Pro selections on his career resume. He took a backseat to Henry last season with a career-low 316 receiving yards, but he had 548 receiving yards and seven touchdowns the year before.

The Chargers have a win-now roster in place with Philip Rivers, Melvin Gordon, Keenan Allen, Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, among others. Bringing back a veteran like Gates to go for an AFC West crown would make sense in the wake of Henry's injury.

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