On his 30th birthday last December, the now-Chargers running back had himself a modest celebration.
“I’ve always felt deeply that as you get older, you have to lose a little weight,” said Gates, who turns 32 next week. “I’ve always played at 260 (pounds). I felt like this year, I can play at 255 … That’s just the key. When I watch guys who have longevity and played for 15, 16 years, one thing I continuously hear is guys maintaining health, maintaining weight. They control their weight.”
According to Brown, the fact that he’s never been a workhorse back is a blessing, and it means he’s fresh and ready to play for a few more years.
What will it take? For the Kings it took equal parts patience and a gambler’s nerve. General Manager Dean Lombardi over his six years at the helm allowed young talent to develop through the farm system instead of rushing players to the big club before they were ready. He traded two rising stars at the end of last season and a solid starter during the middle of this season to get significant pieces of the team puzzle in place. He changed coaches when the Kings grew stagnant. And he had the resolve at the trading deadline not to ship out the team’s captain in an effort to change the dynamics of the locker room.