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Antonio Gates an option for Chargers in lieu of Hunter Henry injury

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The Sports Xchange
Los Angeles Chargers tight end Antonio Gates (85) runs for a first down against the Baltimore Ravens on November 30, 2014 at M&T Bank Field in Baltimore, Maryland. File photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Los Angeles Chargers tight end Antonio Gates (85) runs for a first down against the Baltimore Ravens on November 30, 2014 at M&T Bank Field in Baltimore, Maryland. File photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

The Los Angeles Chargers are considering turning their attention back to Antonio Gates after fellow tight end Hunter Henry sustained a torn ACL injury, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported on Wednesday.

Henry, who was expected to be a focal point of the Chargers' offense in 2018, injured his right knee while running downfield on the first day of OTAs on Tuesday. The 23-year-old is expected to get a second opinion on Wednesday, although the likely scenario has him done for the season, per multiple media reports.

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The transition from Gates to Henry started in 2016 when the club used a second-round pick on the Arkansas product. Henry recorded 45 receptions for 579 yards and four touchdowns in 14 games in 2017 before a lacerated kidney ended his season.

Considered a lock for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Gates had a reduced role with the Chargers in 2017, playing 478 snaps and making 30 receptions for 316 receiving yards and three touchdowns.

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Gates, 37, hadn't had fewer than 49 catches in a season since recording 30 as a rookie.

An eight-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time All-Pro, Gates is the Chargers' all-time leader in receptions (927), receiving yards (11,508) and touchdowns (114), with his touchdown total an NFL record for tight ends.

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Gates has caught 87 touchdown passes from Philip Rivers, the most in league history for a quarterback-tight end tandem.

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He also has 21 games in his career with more than 100 receiving yards, one of only seven tight ends to achieve that feat.

Virgil Green, who is more of a blocking tight end, was signed to a three-year, $8.6 million deal this offseason. He joins Sean Culkin, Ben Johnson and Cole Hunt as the other tight ends on the team's 90-man roster.

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