Healthy Gates returning to form for Chargers

Posted Aug. 10, 2012 @ 10:43 a.m.
Posted By Kevin Fishbain

With the recent success of TEs Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham, it’s easy to forget about the old-timer in the group of pass-catching tight ends, Chargers TE Antonio Gates. In the past two seasons, Gates has 17 total touchdowns, despite missing a combined nine games with foot injuries. The way we hear it, Gates has looked rejuvenated in training camp, and caught a 23-yard TD pass in the preseason opener. He is putting less pressure on his feet and one source expects the Chargers to keep him away from heavy blocking situations. Gates’ health likely would have benefited from a normal offseason last year, and he struggled to be 100 percent healthy in 2011. It was the first time his durability was questioned, as Gates played in every game from 2006-09. With Vincent Jackson now in Tampa Bay, Gates, 32, is likely to be Philip Rivers’ No. 1 target. As for Gates' potential successor, fourth-round rookie Ladarius Green, we hear the jump from Louisiana-Lafayette to the NFL has caused some early struggles. 

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