LA Chargers countdown to 2020: Best number 85 in team history
By Jason Reed
We are officially 85 days away from seeing the LA Chargers back in action.
Counting today, there are 85 days until the LA Chargers kickoff their 2020 season in Week 1 against first overall pick Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals on the road.
To countdown the 2020 season, we have been naming the best player in franchise history to wear every number that coincides with the number of days remaining. Thus far, no current Charger has earned the honor.
That is obviously going to continue today, as the number 85 is all but a formality. This is such an obvious answer that there is almost no point in even making this an article, but in honor of the series, we bring you the best number 85 in LA Chargers history.
The best number 85 in LA Chargers history: Antonio Gates
If you did not instantly know this after both reading the headline and looking at the picture that accompanies this article then I think your Chargers fandom card has to be revoked. Antonio Gates is not just the best number 85 in team history, but he is probably on the Chargers’ Mount Rushmore and is one of the greatest tight ends of all-time.
I would argue that he is the greatest tight end in NFL history. Not only did Gates help pave the way for the modern version of a tight end as a vertical threat, but he put together a resume that nobody has matched.
MORE: Legendary numbers that deserve to be retired
Gates had the most receiving touchdowns in NFL history for a tight end (116) and is seventh all-time in receiving touchdowns when we include wide receivers. He is also third in all-time tight end receptions, third in all-time tight end receiving yards with a better yards per target than the two ahead of him, Tony Gonzalez and Jason Witten.
Gates is undeniably going to be enshrined in Canton in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and no other player in the history of the LA Chargers will wear the number 85. It is not officially retired yet, but nobody on the roster has claimed the number, knowing the importance it has.
The next-best player to wear the number 85 is Russ Washington, who played a whopping 15 seasons with the LA Chargers and was a five-time Pro Bowler. Washington is fifth all-time in total games played for the Chargers.
However, even he still does not come close to having the importance as Gates with the number 85 as he switched to the number 70 early in his career.