LA Chargers News

Ranking the top five playmakers this century for the Chargers

One of the most dynamic threats for the Chargers in the 2000s, Vincent Jackson made two Pro Bowls during his time in San Diego.
One of the most dynamic threats for the Chargers in the 2000s, Vincent Jackson made two Pro Bowls during his time in San Diego. / Donald Miralle/GettyImages
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Antonio Gates
A former college basketball standout, Gates is one of the most beloved Bolts of all-time thanks to his class on and off the field. / Joe Scarnici/GettyImages

2. Antonio Gates, TE, 2003-2018

Did you know Antonio Gates used to play college basketball? In a fact that everyone likes to bring up when talking about the future Hall of Famer, Gates showed this basketball ability time and again as the best receiving threat the modern Chargers have ever seen.

The NFL record-holder for career touchdown receptions for a tight end with 116, Gates is seventh all-time in career touchdown catches. A three-time first-team All-Pro selection from 2004-06 and an eight-time Pro-Bowler, Gates ruled the 2000s as one of the best tight ends in the league alongside Kansas City’s Tony Gonzalez. 

Named to the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team and also the San Diego Chargers 50th Anniversary Team, the Kent State product is one of the most productive Bolts of all time. The Chargers' career leader in receiving yards as well with 11,841, Gates showcased his playmaking ability with clutch receptions all through the 2000s.

While the last four years of his career were uneven due to injuries, he still was able to produce at a strong level for a player at his advanced age. Gates also was a great locker room personality for the Chargers and was one of the team’s biggest leaders along with Rivers for 16-plus seasons. Not bad for an undrafted free agent out of Kent State. 

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