Chargers great Antonio Gates announces retirement

Tanya Simon
January 16, 2020

Gates will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2023.

"After 16 seasons in the NFL, 16 seasons as a charger, eight Pro Bowl appearances and many broken records, it's hard for me to officially release this statement and withdraw from the football game", said Gates in a statement.

"I never dreamed that I would play this game of football so long or how fortunate I would be to play it with just one organisation".

To the fans in San Diego, Los Angeles, across the country and around the world, thank you for your unwavering support all these years.

Gates said that he will remain with the Chargers just in a different capacity.

The tight end became one of the most prolific pass-catchers in National Football League history. "His contributions to our organization over the course of an unprecedented 16-year career, both on the field and in the community, can not be overstated". Gates is 39 years old and for years now, there has been speculation about when he would want to walk away from the game.

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The eight-time Pro Bowler is done catching passes from Philip Rivers in the AFC West, but it's not the last you'll see of Antonio Gates. Gates and Rivers combined for 89 career touchdowns, most of any QB-TE combo, and second-most among any duo. Obviously, Gates' longevity and ability to stay healthy - something Gronk's career lacked - played a huge role in that.

After the playoff loss to the Patriots, Gates stood in the visiting locker room at Gillette Stadium and discussed his desire to continue playing. Among tight ends, only Tony Gonzalez and Jason Witten caught more passes and racked up more receiving yards.

By that point, the team had moved on from one of its most popular players ever. And, he is a lock to be a first ballot Hall of Famer. He not only did one thing well, he did everything well.

He sat out this season after he went unsigned as a free agent.

When he appeared on "The Dan Patrick Show", Gates told how he devoted so much of his life to basketball that high school got through and believed that this would be his future.

He earned a roster spot as a rookie, making his first catch in Week 4 against Oakland, scoring his first touchdown in Week 10 against Minnesota and producing his first 100-yard receiving game in Week 15 against Green Bay.

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