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Gates remakes his body

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Blue Bolt, Aug 5, 2013.

  1. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

    Oct 28, 2009
    Gates felt slighted, so he got ripped
    By Kevin Acee
    4:50 P.M.AUG. 4, 2013

    The greats have to keep finding new things to stoke the greatness, and so Gates grips his incentive in arms forged of a new resolve.

    Antonio Gates is gluten-free and ticked off.
    “It’s the motivation, man,” he said when asked what the deal was with his chiseled physique. “… Just hearing people talk. I know you’re not supposed to listen to what people say, but there’s some collective things that got me motivated.”
    Have we heard similar things from Gates in previous seasons? Yes. And in recent years, actually, it has sounded more desperate than fervent.
    Gates has lost weight, even gotten leaner before, but he has always tended toward Pillsbury Dough Boy more than Man of Steel. It was one of the paradoxes of this future Hall of Famer -- that his stunning talent could come in marshmallow packaging.
    Now, a veteran of multiple serious foot injuries, far closer to the end of his career than the beginning and a little bit freaked out by that rapidly approaching mortality, he has eliminated wheat (and some other things) from his diet. Never before in a career going on 11 years has there been this definition, this sinew throughout his 255 pounds.
    “I’m actually keeping my weight,” he said, “but it looks different.”
    Though Gates does beam at the mention of his reshaped body, the same way any 33-year-old would when such a thing is noticed, looking good was not the goal. The aim was to feel better, to play better, to continue to play.
    Gates has 82 career touchdowns, second-most by any tight end in the history of the profession. Since 2004, no one at any position has caught more TD passes than Gates’ 81. He has led the Chargers in receptions seven of the past nine seasons and in receiving yards four times in that span.
    But he hasn’t caught more than 64 passes or had even 800 yards in a season since 2009. Injuries great and small were taking their toll. He thought a lot about – and even acknowledged aloud – how his career might not even last as long as his current contract.
    “Now, it’s not about my health,” Gates said. “It’s about the desire. It’s not about ‘Man, my body isn’t going to hold up.’ “
    Gates has, indeed, appeared quicker this spring and summer than in any of the past three. His body has betrayed him by Fall before, of course, but if the Chargers are to again be an efficient offense in 2013, perhaps it will be recalled as fortunate that motivation gave focus to Gates' desire.
    While Gates professes a belief that his longevity has been extended, he knows there remains a shelf life on every career. Gravity is often accompanied by clarity. And since there already is little doubt he’ll one day have a yellow jacket in his closet and a bust in Canton, there is really just one thing above all others to aspire to now.
    “The number one thing for me is that I want to win a Super Bowl by the end of my career,” he said. “So many guys have these individual performances and they rank among the top this and that but they never have a championship. To me, that always puts you over the edge in my opinion. When I think of ‘Who’s the best ever?’ I look at the stats and then I look at ‘Well, he was real good, but he won with his.’ To me that always separates it.”
    That goal isn’t new as much as it is illuminated by the looming conclusion of his time on the field.
    Not that along the way – and his candor is among the things you have to love about Gates – he won’t be bothered to also stick it some people who might think he’s already finished.
    Gates was admittedly “upset” the past two years by his placement in NFL.com’s list of the Top 100 players. After being ranked 22nd overall in 2011, he was left off the list in ’12 and was ranked 73rd this year in the voting by his peers.
    “It’s just ludicrous,” he said of his ranking this year.
    In Gates' defense, he remains a presence defenses consider dangerous. However, given his diminished production, the reality is it is difficult to justify an argument for him being ranked much higher.
    Regardless, the important thing is Gates is motivated to do something about it.
  2. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

    Oct 28, 2009
    Having both Gates and Freeney playing with chips on their shoulders is a good thing. :tup:
    • Agree Agree x 1

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

    Jul 11, 2006
    Fluff, stuff and puff on the dragon, it will set you free!!!!!

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