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Philip Rivers thinks Gates' PED use was unintentional

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San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers heard about Antonio Gates' suspension well before it hit, so he's had more time than most to digest the news.

But even after a long holiday weekend, he didn't come away with the feeling that Gates is an intentional rule-breaker.

He said as much on XEPRS-AM on Monday.

"I feel like our relationship is such that if it was intentional, he would say, 'I messed up. I've been doing this, I made a mistake, I just couldn't do it anymore the way I was doing it.' You know what I mean?"

He added: "Could I be wrong? I guess. But I don't think so."

Since 2003, Gates has been a model of consistency and innovation in the NFL. He's also probably the most idolized active tight end in the league among young up-and-coming players given his emergence onto the scene.

Though there's no way of knowing, he at least gives off the impression that his oft-used excuse -- I didn't know what I was taking had supplements on the banned substance list -- has some truth to it.

At least Rivers is willing to go on record as saying so, which is more than many suspended players can say about their teammates.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast discusses Jason Pierre-Paul's firework incident, and reviews recent 'Making the Leap' candidates. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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