After 16 seasons, all with the Chargers, tight end Antonio Gates announced his retirement today via his social media accounts. Gates didn’t play a snap for the Chargers in 2019 but never quite closed the door on a return. Now, the door is officially closed on what is certainly a Hall of Fame career.
— Antonio Gates (@AntonioGates85) January 14, 2020
Gates was drafted by the Chargers in 2003 a year before drafting quarterback Philip Rivers. Together, they would combine for the third-most touchdowns between a quarterback and a wide receiver with 89, just three shy of Steve Young and Jerry Rice for second. Of course, Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison lead the pack with 114 touchdowns. Nonetheless, an impressive accomplishment for the duo.
The Kent State product caught a total of 955 passes for 11,841 yards and 116 touchdowns over 236 regular-season games. He had 51 receptions, 540 yards, and two touchdowns in 12 postseason games. He was an All-Pro selection three times and an eight-time Pro Bowl selection.
His 116 touchdowns are seventh-most in NFL history behind only a crop of wide receivers. In addition, he has the third-most yards receiving for a tight end in NFL history behind only Tony Gonzalez (15,127) and Jason Witten (12,977).