2016 hasn’t gone how how anyone planned. That includes future Hall of Fame TE Antonio Gates. Before this season started, all the talk we heard was that this was VERY likely to be Gates’ last season in the NFL.
Then the 2016 season happened.
Antonio Gates reiterates his retirement intentions: "This is not the way I expected to be done. I'm definitely leaning toward coming back."— Michael Gehlken (@sdutGehlken) December 28, 2016
Between the Chargers finishing with another losing record, and Gates likely not passing Tony Gonzalez’s TE Touchdown record (he needs 2 more in this final game of the season), it looks like Gates wants a chance to go out on a brighter note.
Gates is still under contract for 2017 with a cap figure of $5.5 million, which is good news if he plays because the team won’t have to worry about trying to re-sign him, and eating up valuable cap space, if he doesn’t want to retire.
My only hope here is that if Gates does come back, whoever is running the offense next year reduces his role a little, not only to keep him fresher in his “old age” but also to free Hunter Henry a little more. He has earned it.