The Indianapolis Colts came ‘very close’ to signing former Los Angeles Chargers star Antonio Gates to play last season.
According to Jim Ayello of the IndyStar, Gates was enticed by the idea of playing for the members of the Colts coaching staff he already had relationships with after seeing the team get off to a hot start.
“It was just so familiar,” Gates said. “Even the players had, like, similarities if that makes sense. It’s just crazy how everything works. It did look familiar and when they called plays, it just fits what we had done over the course of a decade in California.”
With Gates seeing so many similarities between what the Colts ran last season and his time with the Chargers, it’s easy to see why Philip Rivers wanted to sign with them. It should be a seamless fit and with him not having much time left to play, that’s an ideal scenario.
When asked if he would consider returning to the Colts again, Gates made it clear that the option is not on the table for him anymore. He was quite honest in his conversation with the IndyStar stating he can’t be who he once was on the field anymore.
“No, no, no.” Gates laughed. “Last year, I was fresh out. I was hesitant about coming back, but I always wanted to keep open the opportunity of winning a championship. I really, truly feel like the Colts have that opportunity now with Philip. But for me, I can’t be who I was, from a mental standpoint. That’s why I retired. What I would have to go through mentally and the things I’d do to prepare, I just don’t feel like I can give that effort right now. I wouldn’t want to do that to anybody.”
The Colts do need another tight end in the mix after the team parted ways with Eric Ebron. They still have Jack Doyle and Mo-Allie Cox on the roster but the 2020 NFL Draft class of tight ends is very weak. Expecting a reliable option to come from that source would likely lead to disappointment.
Antonio Gates spent 16 seasons in the NFL and was one of the league’s top tight ends for years. He formed a dynamic duo with Philip Rivers that gave the Colts no shortage of issues, even ending some of their playoff runs.
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