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Chargers TE Antonio Gates announces his retirement

Los Angeles Chargers v New York Jets Photo by Ed Mulholland/Getty Images

The greatest tight end in Chargers history and one of the very best to ever play the position, Antonio Gates, has officially retired after 16 seasons in the NFL. He released a statement via Twitter this morning thanking the fans and announcing that he would be joining the Chargers in an off-the-field capacity in the organization’s “community engagement initiatives and public facing events.”

Gates was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Kent State where he (little known fact) played basketball. He concludes his career having been selected to 8 Pro Bowls and was named an All-Pro 5 times.

He holds Chargers franchise records for receptions (955), receiving yards (11,841), and touchdown receptions (116). His 116 career touchdowns rank 7th all time behind five Hall of Fame wide receivers (Jerry Rice, Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Cris Carter, and Marvin Harrison) and one future Hall of Fame wide receiver (Larry Fitzgerald).

His full statement is embedded below: