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Philip Rivers defends Antonio Gates

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Gates has been Rivers’ favorite target since El Capitan’s first start in 2006. How do Rivers and the rest of the team feel about the four game suspension?

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

In a recent interview on 1090 AM, Philip Rivers showed a little more of how he leads this team.  It was an interview in which PR staunchly defended the only receiver he has had in every season he has been a Charger.  In the 13 minutes interview, Rivers cited his friendship with Gates and was "certain" that Gates made an inadvertent mistake in taking whatever it was that got him suspended for four games.

Rivers "knew this was coming" and the only negative thing he said during the interview was that he was disappointed it happened and "not a fatherly disappointment", but a general disappointment "that this happened".  He also compared this to other adversity that the team has faced and said that they would approach it just as if Gates had gotten a high ankle sprain in pre-season.

He also referred to Gates' character and prior history of dealing with adversity and that he and the rest of the team knew that this was not a deliberate violation, but a mistake.  He also lauded Gates for taking responsibility in a direct and straightforward way.

Toward the end of the interview, he reacted strongly to a recent editorial statement that the team is "dead" without Gates.  Throughout the entire interview, PR showed nothing but support for his teammate and friend, stayed positive about the team's prospects, and demonstrated once again the leadership he has been noted for his entire career.