Per usual, the world was wrong.
Instead of stepping aside, Gates caught touchdowns. The tight end, who turns 35 in June, scored 12 times -- second most of his career and most since a decade prior -- on 69 receptions and 821 yards.
While Gates looked healthy and rejuvenated most of last season, he recently told The MMQB's Emily Kaplan, while promoting a boxing match in Detroit -- his offseason gig -- that he played too much and would like to dial it back in 2015.
"With injuries and whatnot, I played a little bit more than they expected me to play last season," Gates said. "I was playing the whole game. How I feel next year, it depends on how much volume they have me doing. I'd like to come in on third-and-7s, red zones, those situations. That's what my contribution is at anyway."
Gates played 787 snaps in 2014, 17th most in his position, per Pro Football Focus, a figure much higher than that of many younger players.
Entering his 13th season, Gates is in the final year of his contract and sees the light is at the end of the tunnel -- that's in part what his Detroit boxing promotion business is about. But the veteran will make no declarations about when he plans on hanging up the cleats.
"It could be one year for me, it could be four years, I don't know," he said. "I just wonder how I'll handle it."