No.1: Antonio Gates
This comes as no shock, especially because if you ever see a list of the greatest tight ends in NFL history, this guy might be No.1 on that too.
Antonio Gates had a fabulous career with the Chargers, one that no one would have seen coming. It may not be over yet, either. Fingers crossed on that, right?
Undrafted out of Kent State in 2003, Gates just wanted an opportunity to get on the field and show what he could do. He was a basketball player, what could he possibly do?
Gates was able to use his athleticism and background as a basketball player to completely revolutionize the tight end position. He was basically unstoppable at times and he couldn’t have gone to a better place.
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Between Brees and Philip Rivers, he had two intelligent quarterbacks who knew where to place the ball when throwing to Gates, who would use his body to “box out” defenders and make plays.
If you ever had him on one of your fantasy teams, especially during his first hanful of years in the league, you reaped the rewards.
As it stands now, Gates’ 927 career receptions are nearly 400 more than the number posted by Winslow, who is second on the team’s list of receptions by a tight end. But not only did Gates have more catches than any other tight end in team history, he has more catches, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns than any player in team history.
His 114 career touchdown receptions are the most ever for a tight end and only five players in the history of the league have caught more.
The Hall of Fame awaits the greatest tight end to ever play the game, but Chargers fans would like No. 85 to play one more season.