A former college basketball star, Gates was a new breed of tight end when he began to rip up defenses in the mid-aughts. Tall, fast and hyper-athletic, Gates was a matchup nightmare that became a template. Before everyone wanted a Gronk, they wanted a Gates.
Now entering his 10th season with the San Diego Chargers, Gates sees a roster full of potential playmakers at his position.
"I've never been around this kind of group," Gates told U-T San Diego last month. "We all make plays. It's our little motto."