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Gates finds the positives in being locked out

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Posted July 08, 2011 @ 11:57 a.m. ET
By Eli Kaberon

It's safe to say that outside of the lawyers, nobody has enjoyed the past four months of the NFL lockout. There are some, however, who have benefited from the prolonged time away from football.

Chargers TE Antonio Gates is one of those people. After battling foot and leg injuries for the early part of the 2010 season, Gates missed two games last November before being placed on injured reserve following Week 13. This was despite having an exceptional campaign, even for his standards, where the All-Pro gained 15.6 yards per reception and scored a touchdown every five catches. Still, the bum foot was too painful for him to play through, forcing the team to shut him down.

In an interview with PFW, Gates said that while he misses seeing his coaches and going to the Chargers' facility, the lockout might have worked in his favor this offseason.

"The end of last season was tough, but this lockout has kind of been helpful for me, because it's allowed me more time to rehab and get treatment," Gates said. "So I'm feeling really good now.

"The lockout has allowed me to spend more time with my kids and my family, which is nice."

The seven-time Pro Bowler also has been present at the team's players-only workouts in San Diego, organized by QB Philip Rivers. With free agency still on the to-do list, the team doesn't know who will be on the roster next season. Still, the tight end thinks the squad will be ready to go whenever the lockout does end.

"We've had a few workouts here, where we are just trying to stay in shape and be ready for whenever the season does start," Gates said. "We have so many veteran guys on this team that we're just picking up where we left off kind of."

Considering San Diego had the league's top-ranked offense last season, that could be another lockout benefit to Gates and the Chargers.


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