Antonio Gates' Return to Chargers Still Possible, Per GM Tom Telesco

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 21, 2018

CARSON, CA - DECEMBER 31:  Antonio Gates #85 of the Los Angeles Chargers is seen running onto the field prior to the game against the Oakland Raiders at StubHub Center on December 31, 2017 in Carson, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Los Angeles Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said Thursday a reunion with tight end Antonio Gates remains possible ahead of the 2018 NFL season.

Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com passed along comments Telesco made on AM 570 L.A. Sports Radio about potentially bringing back Gates after fellow tight end Hunter Henry suffered a torn ACL in May.

"There's no update right now," he said. "We'll see where things go next week. We've got a couple, different possibilities. We had talked about one obviously with Antonio Gates, and we'll see where that goes. We've got some time here next week, so we'll see what happens."

The Chargers allowed Gates to become a free agent after a 2017 campaign where the team legend made just 30 catches for 316 yards and three touchdowns. It was his worst statistical season since his debut year in 2003 as Henry took on a larger role in the offense.

In early July, former Bolts teammate LaDainian Tomlinson told SiriusXM NFL Radio he thought the future Hall of Famer would only return to L.A., per Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk.

"I believe the only place Antonio wants to play is the Chargers," Tomlinson said. "I think he has the mind frame of 'if I go play its gonna be for the Chargers; if it's not the Chargers, then I'm good; I won't play.'"

The 38-year-old Kent State product doesn't have much burst left in his legs after 15 seasons in the NFL. He could still be a reliable red-zone threat, however, and would likely represent an upgrade over the current tight end group led by journeyman Virgil Green.

Gates tallied 53 receptions for 548 yards and seven scores in 2016 before the full emergence of Henry. He'd likely post similar numbers if signed for the 2018 season.