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From Gates' perspective, he's ready to be at his best

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Concudan, Jul 29, 2011.

  1. Concudan

    Concudan Meh... Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 5, 2006

    Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers tight end during the first day of training camp at the Chargers Park facility in

    Murphy Canyon.

    Antonio Gates is 31 years old and still fighting through the most painful yet of a series of foot injuries. He did not practice on the first day of training camp and probably won’t for another week.
    In his pocket, though, he carries experience. Thus, the path ahead, he believes, leads directly into his prime.
    “I have a whole bowl full of perspective, and I’m stirring it up into being the best Antonio Gates,” he said. “I think the best three or four years of my career are ahead of me.”
    If Gates is a prophet as well as a Hall of Fame-bound tight end, then those three or four years would be even more amazing than the eight that have passed.
    Gates has made the unprecedented regular and the impossible routine.
    Among all the tight ends to ever play in the NFL, his 529 career catches and 7,005 yards already rank as sixth-most. His 69 touchdown passes are surpassed among tight ends only by Tony Gonzalez’s 88 (achieved in six more seasons).
    Gates is the only player at any position to have caught at least eight touchdown passes in each of the past seven seasons. In those seven seasons, only running back LaDainian Tomlinson (117) and wide receiversRandy Moss (76) and Terrell Owens (73) have more TDs than Gates’ 67.
    It was before last season that the Chargers awarded Gates with what was at the time the biggest contract ever given to a tight end. Gates continued to reward the team by seemingly having taken his abilities to a new height. But on the way to what might have been his most productive season, Gates first hurt his right big and sprained his right ankle in the season’s sixth game. He then tore the plantar fascia in his left foot. Still, without practicing and with the help of numbing pre-game injections, Gates played on until early December, when the pain became too much and he feared further damage.
    Gates made it through the offseason without surgery but with plenty of rest. After attending the Chargers’ voluntary workouts early in the spring, he was advised by a doctor to stop running and jumping on the foot. He recently began running, which he did the past two days at Chargers Park and will continue to do over the next week. The plan is for him to join in when the entire roster of veterans joins camp practices on Thursday.
    Gates said if there were a regular season game this week, he would play. And while no one should doubt the man who played through a toe fracture one postseason and high ankle sprain the next and then defied all sense by playing as long as he did in 2010. But even he acknowledges there is some uncertainty ahead. He is not certain how much he will practice during camp or the season, how many snaps he’ll take in the preseason, what exactly he’ll have to do to get ready each Sunday.
    “Going forward, the main thing is trying to control it,” Gates said. “Plantar fasciitis is one of those things. It’s not like an injury. You just hope and pray it goes away. The recovery part is the (unknown). I don’t know if that will ever go away.”
    But he is certain he will play and that this injury will not cause him to miss games.
    What has him confident in the face of the lingering discomfort is a belief that nothing will surprise him.
    He reluctantly learned to see games through a coach’s eyes while sitting last December. Watching also made love playing even more.
    He’s been in the league for eight years. He’s still clinging to his unfair combination of size and speed. He knows the game better than ever, knows defenses better than ever, knows when to shimmy and when to shake in a route. He and quarterback Philip Rivers practically read each other’s minds.
    He has excelled in a season after holding out all camp. He has excelled after offseason surgery. He has excelled while not practicing and playing through pain.
    “I’ve handled over and over about all you can deal with,” he said. “I know what it takes. I know what to do. Given my experience, given the obstacles I’ve overcome, there’s nothing at this point that will surprise me.
    “I would have preferred to not gone through the pain. I don’t know what (last season) would have been like if I didn’t get that foot injury. But I do know it created a perspective, and that’s who I am.”
  2. Joy Division

    Joy Division Slightly-known Member

    Jun 30, 2008
    All this feet talk...sounds like someone is trying to lure Rex Ryan into a trap....
    • Like Like x 1
  3. matilack

    matilack Take A Knee McCree!!!

    Aug 14, 2006
    Gates has been overly optimistic about this injury multiple times already. It doesn't surprise me that he's giving the full lip service again, but this time I'm extremely skeptical.

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

    Jul 11, 2006
    I agree, Gates has had these reoccurring foot problems the last three years. Even if it takes the first half of the season let him heal and play at his best.
  5. Enormo

    Enormo BoltTalker

    Jul 22, 2007
    Me too. It has reached the threshold of chronic injury. I wouldn't be supprised if this is something he carries with him for the rest of his career. There will be games missed, there will be games where he is not much more than a decoy, and there will be games where he produces. Hopefully, the majority will be the latter. I'd still prefer him on the field over any TE out there but, damn, its frustrating to watch someone so good have this monkey on his back year in year out.

    I half agree with Hexed. Let him heal that thing. But at the same time who said an extra few months is going to make a difference in a 3 year old injury.
  6. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

    Time for a bionic foot.
  7. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Official Hater

    Feb 14, 2007
    How long before we see this injury creep up?
  8. AnteaterRaider

    AnteaterRaider Carpe Diem et omni Mundio Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

    Jan 19, 2006
    Can we amputate and put a new foot on? :p

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