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Antonio Gates’ future with Chargers still remains uncertain

Antonio Gates, Chargers

Veteran tight end Antonio Gates remains an unrestricted free agent despite his desire to continue playing. Gates has spent his entire 15-year career with the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers, but it doesn’t seem as if the team is making much of an effort to retain him.

According to Jack Wang of the Los Angeles Daily News, the Chargers have not been in contact with Gates’ agents in a while regarding a new contract.

“I understand it’s a big topic,” Chargers GM Tom Telesco said. “I just don’t have an update on it right now.”

The Chargers met with Gates’ reps at the scouting combine in March, and Telesco was tight-lipped about the possibility of bringing Gates back. It certainly doesn’t seem as if there’s been much, if any, progress since then.

Gates, who will turn 38 in a couple of months, is coming off his least productive year since his rookie season. He had just 30 catches for 316 yards and three touchdowns in 2017. He’s been in steady decline since 2014, and has now been supplanted by the team’s younger tight end options in Hunter Henry and Virgil Green.

Given his declining production, it’s understandable that the Chargers are considering cutting ties with the veteran. But because of his status as a team legend, not to mention one of the greatest players ever at his position, this decision is still a painful one.

The longer the Chargers drag their heels on that new deal, the more likely it is that Gates has played his last game for the team.