“I Look Forward To Doing It Once Again In Canton” | Chargers To Induct Legendary TE Antonio Gates Into Team’s Hall Of Fame

On Wednesday the Los Angeles Chargers announced that they are inducting tight end Antonio Gates into the team’s Hall of Fame.

Gates is a no-brainer when you consider all the former Kent State star accomplished over his illustrious career.

The enshrinement will take place at a Dec. 10 matchup against the hated Denver Broncos.

Chargers team owner Dean Spanos released a statement announcing Gates would be forever immortalized in Chargers lore. 

“As I’ve said many times now, Antonio is not only one of the greatest Chargers to ever play the game, he’s one of the greatest players in NFL history,” Chargers owner Dean Spanos said in a statement released by the club. “That couldn’t be any truer today that it was at the time of his retirement. As the years have passed, and as the game has continued to evolve, it’s impossible not to notice the impact Antonio has had on the modern NFL and the way teams utilize tight ends.”

“Just as Kellen Winslow forever changed the position decades earlier, Antonio redefined what it meant to be a tight end in the 21st century,” the statement continued. “His contributions to our organization, on the field and off, are those of a Hall of Famer. This was, to me, always a mere formality. After we celebrate him at SoFi Stadium this December, I look forward to doing it once again in Canton.”

That’s right, Canton is calling Gates, and it should come in 2024. 

Gates Should Be First Ballot Hall Of Famer

When the committee gathers to decide next year’s modern-day Hall Of Fame class, Gates’ name should be at the very top of the list. Meaning his Chargers enshrinement will just be a prelude to the big one, as Gates will very likely reach Canton in his first year of eligibility. 

Gates, an undrafted free agent signed by the team in 2003, posted some remarkable numbers over his career and helped lead the Chargers resurgence along with quarterback Philip Rivers and Pro Football Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson. 

He’s the all-time leader in touchdown receptions by a tight end with 116. Gates played 16 seasons all with the Chargers, making eight Pro Bowls and five All-Pro selections. His 955 career receptions and 11,841 yards rank third all-time for tight ends as well. 

Gates Excelled At Basketball

Prior to just becoming a gridiron star, Gates played both football and basketball for the Golden Flashes of Kent State. There he averaged 15 points and seven rebounds over three seasons, including 20.6 points and 7.7 rebounds in his final season. 

Gates went undrafted after deciding to focus solely on an NFL career, but he also was the first to follow Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez’s blueprint of NFL tight ends who also played college basketball. 

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