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Mailbag: How did the Locker Room React to Gates’ Return?

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Q: What was the reaction when Antonio Gates came in? Do you think he’ll have a big impact this week? – Michael Guy

 A: Exactly how you’d think – euphoria! And not just because of what he can do on the field, but because Gates has meant so much to so many in that locker room. Keenan Allen, Melvin Ingram and Melvin Gordon are just a few who consider the future Hall of Famer their mentor. And then there is Philip Rivers, who has as close a relationship with “Gatesy” than anyone else. As far as what he’ll do on the field this week, that remains to be seen. His first practice won’t come until Wednesday, so even though he’s entering his 16th season and knows this system inside and out, the Bolts won’t get a true sense until later this week. If he does play, Head Coach Anthony Lynn said he’d be on a snap count. We’ll all find out together when Sunday rolls around, but Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid told reporters early Wednesday morning that he expects to see the same tight end who has tormented the Kansas City his entire career:

“He’s a Hall of Fame player, so he knows how to take care of himself and do all that stuff.  So that’s how we’re preparing for him. We know all that doesn’t really matter (signing earlier this week). Heck, I brought a guy back after two years to play in the Super Bowl. This guy just got done playing. He’ll be ready to go, and we’re preparing to play against Antonio Gates – the Antonio Gates. No different.”

Q: Who was the biggest surprise to make the roster? – D. Holmes

A: I don’t think it’s fair to say anyone is a “surprise” because you have to be the best of the best to even be on a 90-man roster. As GM Tom Telesco explained, each player they brought in this offseason had a specific skillset they felt could help this team. Also, the front office and coaching staff stress that once a player joins the Bolts, it doesn’t matter how they arrived. Draft pick. Undrafted free agent. Veteran free agent. Once you are on this team, everyone has a clean slate. Now, that being said, the obvious answer to the biggest surprise has to be the three undrafted free agents in RB Detrez Newsome, CB Brandon Facyson and WR J.J. Jones.

Q: I’m very happy to see Patrick Mahomes at quarterback this week than Alex Smith, who we couldn’t beat for four years!!! – Bob Cox

A: Be careful what you wish for. Patrick Mahomes is a terrific quarterback, and one the Bolts know can beat them with his cannon arm and ability to buy time in the pocket. The Chiefs have one of the fastest players in the league in Tyreek Hill, and Mahomes appears to be the perfect quarterback for the speedster. Just create enough time in the pocket to allow Hill to go deep, then launch it 60-plus yards in his arms. That’s a nightmare for any team. And I can tell you point blank that the Chargers have the utmost respect for Mahomes.

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