To the surprise of many, San Diego-Los Angeles Chargers legend Antonio Gates was left out in the cold when it came to landing a spot in the Pro Football Hall-of-Fame this year. And the all-time great tight end admitted this week that the snub left him “disheartened.”
After 16 memorable years in the league, Gates called it a career in 2018. This year brought his first opportunity for induction into the Football HOF. The 43-year-old was a finalist in his first chance at immortality, unfortunately, voters decided that it was not time for induction just yet.
It was a surprise development that many in and around the NFL blasted since the eight-time Pro Bowler is third all-time in catches, yards, and No. 1 in touchdowns for all tight ends in NFL history. While not every player can be a first-ballot HOFer, it seemed like Gates had as good a case as anyone. Falling just short not only stung Antonio Gates fans but it also really bothered the Chargers legend.
Antonio Gates on HOF snub: ‘It’s like getting to the championship and losing’
Following the Hall-of-Fame committee’s decision not to induct him this year, Gates spoke with USA Today about the deep disappointment of falling just short of a dream for many athletes lucky enough to become stars in the NFL.
- Antonio Gates stats (Career): 955 REC, 11,841 YDS, 116 TD, 50.2 YPG
“I feel like I let the people who went through the journey with me down. You know, like your family. The people who understands what’s beneath the surface, all the work you put in, the coaching staffs, the players who played with you. They’re like, ‘What?’ So I think that’s one of those things where you think, man, in due time we’ll get there, man.’
“I think the disheartening part of when you don’t make it is is that you made it so close. It’s like getting to the championship and losing. But how you handle it moving forward is the most important thing.’’– Antonio Gates
Gates unfortunately never won a Super Bowl during a fantastic career spent entirely with the San Diego-Los Angeles Chargers franchise. While he didn’t get in this year, it would be shocking if he did not land on the selection list in 2025.