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Gates cites the Chargers family in signing for six

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Aug 24, 2005.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a href="http://www.scout.com">Scout.com</a>

    Antonio Gates said it would happen soon and the window to sign was marked ‘Before Dallas.' One day after expressing optimism, Gates signed a six-year deal to remain with the San Diego Chargers.

    Had no deal been struck, Gates would have went into the season knowing his services would be coveted around the NFL as a restricted free agent next offseason.

    But any chance of that happening ended when Antonio Gates came to San Diego on Monday and stepped into the locker room.

    "Seeing the love they have had for me when I came back I felt like this was somewhere I wanted to be long-term," Gates explained with affection.

    He cited relationships with teammates as one of the main reasons he wanted the deal done quickly.

    But that loyalty and trust for his teammates dates back to this offseason. He came to every offseason workout, used the time to bond further with the 11 returning starters on offense and was present at the team's minicamp.

    The only time he missed was when he had to be under contract to participate in training camp and the reindeer games going on in late July.

    All along, he knew something special was brewing in San Diego.

    Fresh off a 12-4 season and with the team still intact, Gates knew this was the place he belonged – long term.

    Ultimately, this wasn't a decision based on money. It was a decision made by a man who wants to be there for his teammates as they have been there for him.

    "I did what is best for me and my family," said Gates. "It wasn't about me being the highest paid tight end. I wanted to win. I wanted to be around good people. This organization has done a good job with surrounding me with good people."

    "Antonio has been a model representative for the team and we believe he has a tremendous future in this league," General Manager A.J. Smith said.

    Smith deserves the kudos again for this one. He continues to be true to his word in negotiations and in keeping the core of the team together.

    Gates saw what the Chargers organization was trying to accomplish and knew he had to hop on board, even though he may have left money on the table.

    "We have such a vibe in that locker room and that is something you can't take away from a team. I know teams that don't hang out off the field. We are playing for one another."

    Coming off a performance against St. Louis where everything seemed to be working right without their best receiver, the Chargers are enamored to have him back in the mix.

    While he will miss several games, including the opener, Gates is a vital cog that keeps the offensive wheel churning and that wheel just got an extended warranty of six more years.

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