If Chargers tight end Antonio Gates catches two touchdowns in Sunday’s game against the Chiefs, he will move past Tony Gonzalez into first place for most touchdown catches by a tight end.
If not, it sounds like he’ll give himself plenty of other chances to do it during the 2017 season. Gates said on Wednesday that he feels like he wants to come back for a 15th NFL season rather than retire.
“This is not the way I expected to be done. I’m definitely leaning toward coming back,” Gates said, via Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Gates said something very similar at the end of last season as well, although he didn’t have a contract for 2016 at that time.
Gates is now signed through next season with a base salary of $4.5 million in 2017. There would be some dead money left on the cap if the Chargers opted to part ways with him, but that seems unlikely. Gates remained productive with 48 catches for 493 yards and six touchdowns in 13 games this year and rookie Hunter Henry has shown enough promise that they won’t have to rely too heavily on a player who will turn 37 before the start of next season.