Chargers reach out to TE Gates about return

General manager Tom Telesco and the Los Angeles Chargers are interested in bringing back tight end Antonio Gates for a 16th season with the franchise.

Telesco said in a radio interview the Chargers reached out to Gates to gauge his interest in playing for the team this season after likely starter Hunter Henry went down with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

“Obviously, Antonio would be a natural fit,” Telesco said during his interview with 97.3 FM in San Diego. “He’s someone we’ve talked to. Talked to his representatives. Sometimes, it’s not just as easy as saying, ‘Hey, let’s just bring him back. Let’s go.’ ”

Telesco has only six weeks to figure out the depth chart at the position before training camp begins July 28.

Part of the tug of war between the sides could center around the role the Chargers envision for Gates, an eight-time Pro Bowl selection, this season.

Gates celebrates his 38th birthday on Monday and became more of a role player with the Chargers last season. He caught 30 passes for 316 yards and three touchdowns. Gates owns the all-time NFL record for touchdowns by a tight end with 114 and is the franchise record-holder with 927 career catches and 11,508 receiving yards.

The Chargers could line up with Virgil Green, a No. 2 tight end with a block-first role, as the starter if Gates isn’t willing to rejoin the club.

–Field Level Media