Every year there’s at least one NFLer who feels slighted over his placement on NFL Network’s annual “Top 100” list. (Last year, if you recall, the Giants’ Justin Tuck took issue with Eli Manning’s ranking.)
Antonio Gates has filled the quota for 2013.
The Chargers’ veteran tight end, who came in at No. 73 on the countdown, expressed his displeasure during the “Top 100” aftershow.
“Apparently they don’t watch football,” Gates said, via NFL.com. “I understand everybody’s opinion. Some people are stats guy, some people are into who catches the touchdowns and passes, who has 100-something catches. A lot of people are not really interested in what the gameplan is about.”
“It’s funny to me because it’s a joke in a sense, it’s kind of funny.”
Despite the perceived dis, Gates claims he’s more motivated to become a better player.
“It’s always frustrating to see you getting placed so low,” Gates said. “At the same time, it gives me a little chip on my shoulder to come back next year to prove I’m one of the better tight ends in this league.”
He’s lucky just to make it on the list at all.
In 2012, Gates turned in his worst season since his rookie campaign, hauling in 49 passes for 538 yards and seven scores. Those numbers are respectable, but nowhere near the dominating output we’ve seen in years past.
The soon-to-be 33-year-old is still an above-average tight end — and potential Hall-of-Famer — but recurring foot injuries have put his best days well behind him. Gates needs to come to grips with that, and not worry where he stands on a player survey.
(Photo credit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images)