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Chargers GM: 'We'll see' if Antonio Gates will return

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The concept of Antonio Gates returning to the Chargers is picking up steam.

Veteran quarterback Philip Rivers wants the veteran tight end back on the roster -- and he might not be alone.

Chargers general manager Tom Telesco acknowledged Friday that bringing back Gates would make sense on the heels of a season-ending ACL injury to pass-catching tight end Hunter Henry.

"Would be a natural fit, right?" Telesco wrote during a live chat with fans on the team's official website. "I saw that Philip voted for it. When it comes to roster moves, we are not a democracy. But we are not a dictatorship either. His vote was noted and accounted for. Antonio's accomplishments and contributions to this organization are immeasurable. We will see what the future holds. I don't have an update at this time."

This comes on the heels of Telesco promising in May the team would "look at all the options that are out there," per Jack Wang of the Orange County Register.

"I'd always be excited if [Gates] walked back in the door," Rivers said this week. "It would get my vote."

It makes sense, even with Gates set to turn 38 this month. The playbook is drilled into his brain and he can still operate as a red-zone threat.

Besides, there's not a ton out there in terms of options. Brent Celek, Coby Fleener and the long-lost Gary Barnidge are looking for work, but the Chargers also have four guys of their own in Virgil Green, Sean McGrath, Sean Culkin and Braedon Bowman.

Unfortunately, none of the names above can duplicate what Henry brings to the attack. A headache for defenses last season, the 23-year-old receiving threat emerged as a genuine weapon when coaches magnified his role while de-emphasizing Gates.

It's a major loss for Los Angeles. Almost any solution feels like a patch.

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