At 36 years old, long-time San Diego Chargers’ tight end Antonio Gates is still making plays.
Early on in the Bolts’ Week 16 match-up with Cleveland this afternoon, Gates reeled in a goal-line touchdown toss from veteran quarterback Philip Rivers to take a 7-0 lead.
The touchdown catch was Gates’ sixth TD of the season but, most importantly, it’s the 110th touchdown reception of his illustrious 14-year career.
While Gates currently sits at 22nd all-time in career receptions (885), his 110 touchdown receptions is good enough for seventh all-time. He’s just one touchdown away from tying future Hall of Fame TE Tony Gonzalez for sixth all-time and first all-time among tight ends.
That’s right, he’s just two touchdowns away from surpassing the league’s greatest receiving tight end of all-time on the receiving yards list. Gonzalez reeled in 111 touchdowns in 17 seasons. Gates is approaching that total in just 14 seasons.
Among all-time tight ends, Gates sits third on the receptions list (22nd overall) and third on the receiving yards list (34th overall) … but he’s about to potentially cement his Hall of Fame legacy by sitting atop all other tight ends in the touchdown category. And do so in three less years than the great Tony Gonzalez.
For another form reference: Jason Witten (second on TE receptions and receiving yards lists) is also in his 14th NFL season, and he has just 62 career touchdown catches.
Impressive, Mr. Gates.
Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images