Chargers TE Gates doesn't want to retire after playoff exit
Antonio Gates wants to be back on the field next season following the Los Angeles Chargers' defeat to the New England Patriots in the NFL playoffs.
The Chargers were eliminated when they fell to last season's Super Bowl runners-up the Patriots 41-28 in the AFC divisional round on Sunday.
After the loss, veteran tight end Gates, 38, said he is not ready to retire and is hoping to be back with the Chargers in 2019-20.
"I just don't see myself walking away with this taste," Gates told reporters, via ESPN. "And plus, this team. I think when you add [tight end] Hunter [Henry] back, and hopefully we get Jason Verrett back — shoot, the sky's the limit. And I want to be a part of it.
"But that has to be a collective decision. I can't just want to come back. So, we'll see how it goes."
Gates caught 28 passes for 333 yards and two touchdowns in 16 games for Los Angeles this season.
"Of course I think I can still play," Gates said. "I'll have to sit down with the head coach and the people that make these decisions and express how motivated I am to come back even better, as a player and as a team-mate, and hopefully they bring me back."
The Chargers let Gates become a free agent last offseason. But, Hunter Henry tore his anterior cruciate ligament during organised team activities (OTAs) in May, leading Los Angeles to re-sign the eight-time Pro Bowl player in early September.
"I want to be sure to remind [the Chargers] that I want to come back," Gates said. "I want to be part of something special, and I think we have that here. But that's out of my control in the sense where I can only do what I can do. And we'll see how it goes."
Gates tallied five receptions for 41 yards and a score in the loss to New England.