<strong>July 28, 2005</strong>
Source: <a href="http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2005/07/28/sports/professional/chargers/22_00_437_27_05.txt">North County Times</a>
SAN DIEGO ---- Chargers Pro Bowl tight end Antonio Gates has not yet signed his contract for the 2005 season, according to a team official, and cannot report to camp until he does so.
Classified as an exclusive-rights free agent, the team tendered Gates a contract offer worth $380,000. Both parties had hoped to agree on a multiyear pact as the club had done with wide receiver Keenan McCardell and linebacker Steve Foley.
Chargers general manager A.J. Smith did not return phone messages left at his office, and coach Marty Schottenheimer denied any knowledge of Gates' contract status.
"My understanding is he'll be here for the start of camp (today)," he said.
In 2004, Gates caught 81 passes for 964 yards and set an NFL single-season record for touchdown receptions by a tight end with 13. His breakthrough as one of the game's top players came just one year after he signed with the Chargers as an undrafted free agent out of Kent State, where he had been a basketball player.
Even without a contract, Gates has been a regular at voluntary and mandatory offseason workouts.
The Chargers added rookie running back Lydell Ross to their roster a day after the team released running back Jesse Chatman. Ross, a 6-foot-0, 225-pounder, was the leading rusher at Ohio State the past two seasons.Ã
"We thought that he'd shown pretty good promise in his collegiate career," Schottenheimer said. "We needed to have another running back and we felt he was the very best one available."
The team's veterans are scheduled to report to the team hotel at noon today in time for a 1 p.m. team meeting. Their first full-squad practice is slated for Friday morning at Chargers Park. Fans are permitted to attend the workout. ... On the eve of training camp, the Bolts' first-round pick LB Shawne Merriman and second-round selection Vincent Jackson remained unsigned. Attempts to reach general manager A.J. Smith and the agents of both players were unsuccessful.