Chargers star suspended: Antonio Gates Suspended

Published: July 4, 2015

Chargers star suspended: Antonio Gates Suspended, What could be Antonio Gates’ final season with the San Diego Chargers just got significantly shorter.

One of the most productive tight ends in NFL history and an eight-time Pro Bowler, Gates was suspended four games by the NFL on Thursday for violating its policy on performance-enhancing substances.

“In my 12 years in the NFL, I have taken tremendous pride in upholding the integrity of the NFL shield and all that it entails. I have taken extreme care of my body with a holistic approach, and I have never knowingly ingested a substance that was banned by the NFL,” Gates said in a statement released by the Chargers.

“In an effort to recover from this past season, I used supplements and holistic medicines, and unfortunately, I have now learned that those substances always present a risk because they may contain banned substances even if the ingredient list doesn’t reflect them. As an NFL veteran and team leader, I should have done my due diligence to ensure that what I was taking for recovery was within the NFL guidelines. I understand that I am responsible for what is in my body and I have always believed that ignorance is no excuse when it comes to these issues. I take full responsibility for my actions. I’d like to express my sincere apologies to the Chargers, my teammates, coaches, fans and the league who have always supported me and expected and gotten nothing but the highest level of integrity from me.”

Gates, 35, is entering the final year of his contract. He caught 69 passes for 821 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2014.

A veteran of 12 seasons, he is the Chargers’ all-time leader in receptions (788), receiving yards (10,014) and receiving TDs (99).

His early season absence will force quarterback Philip Rivers to rely more heavily on backup tight end Ladarius Green, wideouts Keenan Allen, Stevie Johnson and Malcom Floyd and rookie tailback Melvin Gordon.

“We are tremendously disappointed for our team and our fans as well as Antonio, but no more disappointed than Antonio is with himself,” the Chargers said in a statement that was not attributed to anyone from the front office or coaching staff.

“Antonio is a member of the Chargers’ family and we will continue to support him 100-percent. We have the utmost confidence he will stay in excellent shape for the season and be ready to go when he returns in Week 5. While it’s unfortunate to not have him to start the season, we have complete confidence our tight end group will continue to play at a high level.”

Chargers star suspended: Antonio Gates Suspended

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