Antonio Gates opens up about his return to Chargers

Antonio Gates
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The unfortunate fate of Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry eventually led to the team re-signing veteran Antonio Gates. On Wednesday, he opened up about the Chargers bringing him back.

“I wanted to be a part of this family,” he said, per Ricky Henne of the team’s official website. “This will always be family to me, so it’s like forgiving your family member and then moving forward. … The process was what it was and like I said, I wanted to be here, they knew I wanted to be here and our goals are the same. I think ultimately, that’s what it came down to. We have (the) opportunity of doing something special and I wanted to be a part of that and they wanted me here.”

Gates said he had other team open to signing him, but the Chargers were “always his number one choice.” When asked about whether he thought he would ever see his No. 85 jersey hanging at his locker, he said, “no, not really.”

The Chargers certainly took their sweet time in finally getting Gates to return. All summer long, his teammates — including his long-time quarterback and good friend Philip Rivers — campaigned to get Gates back.

Gates is slated to play in his 16th year with the Chargers. Since joining the team in 2003, Gates has recorded 927 receptions for 11,508 yards and 114 touchdowns.

Eventually, Gates will be headed to the Hall of Fame, but not before fans get to see him play for at least one more season.