SAN DIEGO –
A mellow personality, he doesn’t always demand attention or verbally galvanize the entire team. But when he speaks, everyone listens.
It’s no surprise given he’s in the conversation for best active pass-catching tight end, if not of all-time. Throw in his humble (read: undrafted) beginnings as a college basketball player and add last season’s Herculean effort despite a plantar fascia injury and Gates would be a leader if he never said a word.
Gates offered his opinion on this year’s Chargers recently to the NFL Network, though, and for all the preseason conversations, it’s worth something a little more.
“I kind of like the way it is now. I think you have to go through something in order to get what you want in life. We want to get a championship and now we don’t have the media in our face about how talented the San Diego Chargers are and what we can accomplish,” Gates said.
“We’re a blue-collar team. You see guys out every single day working to get better and I think that’s what it’s about. You do the things that are necessary to go out and try to win a championship.”
DIFFERENT STANDARD: Head Coach Norv Turner had a different take on the well-chronicled lack of attention bestowed upon steady cornerback
The perception is in the eye of the beholder, he said.
“The people who play against him have great respect for him. He doesn’t get a lot of action over there and when he does it’s on very specific things. Those are things we’ve tried to help him improve on along the way,” Turner said.
“He’s an outstanding football player. The guys that get the attention are usually the guys that intercept a lot of balls. Guys that intercept a lot of balls are usually guys who are having the ball thrown at them a lot.”