Sep 11, 2011; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates (85) prior to the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

Top 10 Chargers of 2011: #4 Antonio Gates

The NFL Network is releasing their Top 100 players of 2012 and there just is not enough Chargers action on that list, so the staff at Bolt Beat got together to create a Top 10 Chargers list based off of their performances from last season. 

4) Antonio Gates

Out of Kent State University, Antonio Gates was a heck of a basketball player.

What? A basketball player? Don’t I mean a football player? No.

Antonio Gates had attended Michigan State for a short time and wanted to play both football and basketball but he decided to switch schools (Eastern Michigan University) to persue, not football but basketball.

He then went to two junior colleges and finally wound up at Kent State where he played two seasons.

He was a pretty good basketball player too. In 2002 he helped Kent State reach the “Elite Eight”.

So why isn’t he playing professional basketball?

Because scouts didn’t like his skill set. They said he was what NBA scouts call a “tweener”.

What is a “tweener”?

A tweener in basketball is a term for a player who is able to play two positions, but is not ideally suited to play either position exclusively, so he is said to be in between. A tweener has a set of skills that do not match the traditional position of his physical stature.

So he decided to try out for the NFL.

While being courted by 19 other teams, he chose to work out for the Chargers first.

Recognizing his potential, the Chargers immediately signed him and has become one of the elite tight ends in the NFL.

Marty Shottenheimer always said that he was glad that Gates didn’t play college football. He said that way he didn’t pick up any of the “bad playing habits” some players tend to pick up there.

He’s been hampered by a lingering foot injury for the past couple of years and hasn’t been 100%.

This year looks different though. He’s back and says he’s 100%.

The Chefs, Donkeys and the Robbers better watch out. With Gates and our newest additions Ladarius Green, I could see a Patriot-like double tightend set.

Will Norv?

Bolt Beat Top 10 of 2011:

10. Takeo Spikes
9.   Malcom Floyd
8.   Antwan Barnes
7.  Jared Gaither
6.  Mike Tolbert
5.  Vincent Jackson
4. Antonio Gates

2011 Stats:

Receiving
Year G Rec Yds Y/R TD Lng R/G Y/G
2011* 13 64 778 12.2 7 38 4.9 59.8
Career 132 593 7783 13.1 76 72 4.5 59.0
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/25/2012.

BOLT BEAT STAFF RANKING

Writer
Antonio Gates Ranking
Ernie Padaon6th
ChargerGirl Cindi5th
Randy Mainwaring1st
Korey Kaczur7th
Booga Peters6th
Phil Lam6th

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