Chargers “grateful” to have Antonio Gates back

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The prospect of tight end Antonio Gates returning to the Chargers has been on the table since Hunter Henry tore his ACL in spring work, but it didn’t become a reality until Sunday.

Gates has re-signed with the only NFL team he’s ever played for and he’ll play a 16th season alongside Virgil Green and Sean Culkin at tight end in Los Angeles. Gates has slowed over the years, but that doesn’t make General Manager Tom Telesco any less happy to have him in the fold.

“I’m grateful that he wants to come back and play with us,” Telesco said, via the Orange County Register. “But I’m also grateful — and this is probably more important than the first part — he’s coming back for all the right reasons. He’s not coming back to put up more statistics. He’s not coming back to prove anything to anybody, because he doesn’t have to do that. He’s coming back because he loves his teammates, and I think he sees something special in this football team that he wants to be a part of. That’s exciting.”

Telesco said the team will wait to make a call about Gates playing against the Chiefs in Week One. One way or another, it won’t be long before Gates is back in his familiar uniform.