The selection of Gates shows how much respect his peers have for the tight end and the career he has put together. While Gates did set the franchise record for receiving touchdowns in a Week 16 victory against the Jets, his numbers in 2012 were some of the lowest of his stellar career.
Overall, Gates caught 49 passes for 538 yards in 15 games. Both totals were the lowest he’s had since his rookie season in 2003. Gates did end the season with a touchdown catch in each of his last three games and finished with a respectable total of seven for the year.
Gates himself does not feel that numbers tell the whole story and was unhappy with being ranked No. 73. “Apparently, they don’t watch football,” Gates said on the NFL Network.
“I understand everyone’s opinion. Some people are stat guys, some people are into who catches the touchdowns, who has 100 something catches. A lot of people are not interested into what the game plan is about, what guys demand the game plan every single week, week in and week out, (and) what guys demand double teams. I can go down the list. It is funny to me because it is a joke, in a sense, so it is kind of funny. It is a voice of an opinion. I go out and do what I can do and try to help us win football games. It is always frustrating to see you placed so low. At the same time, it gives me a little chip on my shoulder to come back next year and prove I am one of the better tight ends in the league.”
Gates, who will be 33 this upcoming season, sounds like a man on a mission. A motivated and hopefully healthy Antonio Gates will be a welcome sight for the Chargers and new head coach Mike McCoy.
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