Through the first eight games of this season, Chargers tight end Antonio Gates was having what could have been the best year of his Hall of Fame-caliber career. And then Gates suffered an injury so painful that it hurt just to hear him describe it in an interview Tuesday on ESPN’s Jim Rome Is Burning.
“It hurts, man,” Gates told Rome. “It hurts. It’s painful. I can’t really put into words the kind of pain that it feels — it feels like burning, like a hot knife sticking in your foot. It burns real bad.”
After catching 40 passes for 663 yards and nine touchdowns in the first eight games of the season, Gates missed two games after tearing the plantar fascia on his right foot on October 31 against the Titans. Since then he’s missed two games and caught just four passes for 46 yards in the one game he played.
Gates told Rome he’s been struggling to deal with the pain.
“That’s my judgment, week to week, is just, Can I deal with the pain tolerance over a substantial amount of time, through four quarters?” Gates said. “If I can’t contribute in a way which will help our team, then I won’t go.”
Even at less than 100 percent, Gates can still help the Chargers, which is why he was on the field Sunday night against the Colts. But he’s helping the Chargers while causing himself a lot of pain.