From undrafted collegiate basketball player to one of the greatest tight ends of all time, Antonio Gates had quite the career for the Chargers.
Gates' legacy goes deeper than just the numbers he put together on the field. It goes deeper than his connection with Philip Rivers and the fact that he was a staple of a great Chargers offense for many years. For fans, Gates represents an era of Chargers football that is arguably the most influential in franchise history.
Simply put, Gates is one of the best Chargers of all time and it is only fitting that he enters the Chargers Hall of Fame and gets his number immortalized forever by the franchise. On December 10 against the Denver Broncos, Gates will officially get that honor.
Antonio Gates to be inducted into Chargers Hall of Fame against the Denver Broncos
It is fitting that the Chargers are honoring Antonio Gates at halftime against a team that he had so much success against in his career. At this point in the season, the Chargers are going to be in the thick of a playoff push, so there is going to be even more juice in the building.
Gates becomes the 41st member of the Chargers Hall of Fame but his distinction should be much greater than that. It would be legitimately shocking if the Chargers don't retire Gates' number, especially since it has been pseudo-retired since he retired from the league.
When the Chargers do inevitably make sure that No. 85 is never worn again it will become just the fifth number in franchise history to be retired. Gates would be joining LaDainian Tomlinson, Junior Seau, Dan Fouts and Lance Alworth.
In addition to being in the Chargers Hall of Fame, Gates should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame soon enough. Gates is eligible to be inducted in the class of 2024 and it would be legitimately shocking if he was not a first-ballot inductee.
The 2024 Hall of Fame class will be revealed during NFL Honors right before the Super Bowl in February.