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Gates scores TD in return

Posted Aug 28, 2011

The tight end hasn’t played a game in almost nine months. What else did you expect than for him to find the end zone immediately?

PHOENIX – Antonio Gates went right to work in his 2011 preseason debut, connecting with Philip Rivers for a 13-yard touchdown catch.

Saturday night marked Gates’ first game action since Dec. 5, 2010, a home game against the Raiders.

“It was good, man,” Gates said of his return. “It was like riding a bike again.”

After eight months and 22 days between games, Gates began to show the production the Chargers are used to in his nine years with San Diego.

“The most important thing is just to get back out here with my team and be able to contribute as much as I can,” Gates said. “It was fun to get out here and make some catches and some plays.”

Gates finished with two receptions for 18 yards, tucking both feet into the right corner of the end zone during his touchdown.

“My eyes get big when we get in the red zone anyway,” Gates said. “I just had to get a feel for what the defense was trying to do and fortunately Philip was able to catch me in the back.”

Gates left the game after his touchdown catch, playing about 20 snaps.

“He got in the action and I thought it was very good for him,” Head Coach Norv Turner said of Gates. “He felt great. He obviously could’ve kept going. We’re getting more and more confidence in Kory Sperry that he can go in and play some and obviously Randy we have a lot of confidence in.”

Gates, a seven-time Pro Bowler, showed promise in his return but knows there’s still work to do before opening day on Sept. 11 against the Minnesota Vikings.

“There’s still a lot of rust, but I think the best thing is just going out there getting the repetitions and seeing how I feel being in a live game again,” Gates said.
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