Chargers’ Antonio Gates: It’s ‘challenging’ to settle in smaller role, but thinking of ‘bigger picture’ | NFL

Antonio Gates has made peace together with his diminished function with the Chargers.

The 38-year-old tight finish’s numbers in 2018 do not stack as much as the success he had a number of years in the past (he has 19 catches, 239 receiving yards and two touchdowns this yr). Nonetheless, he is comfortable with Keenan Allen, Melvin Gordon, Tyrell Williams and Austin Ekeler taking up the offense if it will get the 9-Three Chargers to the Tremendous Bowl.

“It’s difficult once you turn out to be accustomed to doing one thing for thus lengthy and doing it at a excessive degree,” Gates stated, via ESPN. “However the greater image shouldn’t be what I can do individually. It is extra concerning the crew and what I can do to assist us win, and I simply have to be prepared for that point, each time it’s referred to as.” 

Gates, who has been with the crew for 15 seasons, was instructed within the spring he wouldn’t be wanted in 2018. Nonetheless, the Chargers’ different tight finish, Hunter Henry, tore his ACL in Might, which gave Gates one other shot.

“I by no means wished to go away — that was the dilemma,” Gates stated. “I at all times knew we had an opportunity [to win a Super Bowl], which is why I wished to come back again.

“Usually once you go away, it’s not in your phrases. And for an individual that’s been right here, executed all of this and been via the wars and so they didn’t need to let me go away alone phrases — there was a variety of bitterness from that perspective. Like, ‘I can’t make the crew? Whoever y’all need, it doesn’t matter, however I need to be right here and I can’t get a spot?’ That’s how I felt. I keep in mind what damage me essentially the most is I actually thought we had been going to win it this yr, and I’ve obtained to root from afar.”

Gates stated he has moved on from initially being minimize and is making an attempt to remain within the second. He stated he desires to be supportive of his teammates and be 100 p.c prepared if the Chargers head to Atlanta in February.

“It’s in my greatest curiosity and my crew’s greatest curiosity that I proceed to remain optimistic when it comes to the place we’re making an attempt to go, as a result of at any given second my quantity might be referred to as,” Gates stated. “And I may very well be so caught up into issues that didn’t occur in earlier weeks, or issues I believed I may do extra or didn’t get an opportunity to do, and now I’m not centered on the current and I may truly make a play now. I’ve performed with guys who’re at all times complaining, complaining and complaining, however with good intentions — clearly they’ve a degree. However once you try this, you begin having this negativity and that impacts you greater than something.

“You begin coming right here and going about your corporation the incorrect approach. You begin feeling a sure approach about how they’re calling the performs, or the gamers and the coaches. You begin pondering that everyone is in opposition to you, however actually the massive image is we’re making an attempt to get to a spot, and should you may also help us get there, it’s good to do your half. I’ve been in main roles and watched guys in minor roles complain. And I stated to myself I by no means need to be that kind of teammate.”

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