If Antonio Gates isn’t the best tight end to ever play the game, he’s no doubt in the mix. His 114 career touchdown receptions are the most ever by a tight end and only five players (not just tight ends) have ever caught more in the history of the league.
That puts Gates, an undrafted player who was a college basketball player rather than a football player, in rare company. But is his career over? There’s always the chance that the Chargers bring Gates back soon to replace Hunter Henry, who will miss the entire 2018 season.
Of course, the longer he plays, that five-year hiatus is pushed back further, but there’s almost no doubt that Gates receives the call to Canton and there’s a good chance that will happen the first year he’s eligible.
Just compare his numbers to Winslow, who is in the Hall of Fame.
Gates has nearly 400 more receptions, almost 5,000 more receiving yards and 69 more touchdown catches. There are countless tight ends that never sniffed 400 receptions, 5,000 receiving yards and 69 touchdowns during their careers, and Gates has that many more than Winslow, a player in the Hall of Fame.
If that’s not convincing, it’s hard to say what is. However, when it comes to Gates, it’s likely there won’t be much convincing necessary. His play on the field spoke for itself and as a result, his place in Canton surely awaits.