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Antonio Gates plans on lower weight for Chargers

San Diego Chargers' Antonio Gates knows that he's not a kid anymore. As he moves deeper into his thirties -- Gates turns 32 next Monday -- the eight-time Pro Bowl tight end plans to play at a lower weight this season.

"I've always felt deeply that as you get older, you have to lose a little weight," Gates said via Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego. "I've always played at 260 (pounds). I felt like this year, I can play at 255. That's just the key. When I watch guys who have longevity and played for 15, 16 years, one thing I continuously hear is guys maintaining health, maintaining weight. They control their weight."

According to Gehlken, Gates is just under 260 pounds right now, with plans to be at his target weight by opening day.

Despite battling foot injuries the last two seasons, Gates has remained productive, catching 114 passes for 1,560 yards and 17 touchdowns in only 23 games. Gates ranked fourth in ATL's Top 10 tight ends list and figures to have several more productive seasons in him, provided the foot issues don't crop up. This offseason, it's so far, so good on that front.

"The aches and pains of playing are always there," said Gates. "But in terms of my foot, I'm able to get to practice at a rate that I wasn't able to do in the past. From that standpoint, I'm feeling great."

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