When Gates was suspended in July, Hall-of-Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe had a strong reaction to the news, saying the suspension, “calls into question everything he accomplished.”
What Gates has accomplished is becoming one of the greatest tight ends in NFL history, needing just 47 yards to pass Sharpe to move into third place for most yards by a tight end in league history. He also trails Sharpe by 28 catches to move into third all-time for tight ends.
Gates addressed the comments on his first Wednesday back at practice.
“We played against each other, so it wasn’t like he was a teammate of mine or we were the best of friends,” Gates said to ESPN. “But we do know each other, and it was always competitive in terms of who was the better tight end, I do know that. And we joked about it. We laughed about it. So I guess if he can find a way to tarnish something, I think he probably would.”
It only took until Friday for Sharpe to fire back at Gates for claiming Sharpe might be looking to tarnish Gates’ accomplishments to keep his records in tact.
He had this to say while hosting a show on a SiriusXM NFL Radio Show:
“If Antonio Gates believes in his heart of hearts that I care whether or not he breaks the records that I once had, that Tony (Gonzalez) now has, (or) he ends his career with more catches, more yards, more touchdowns, more rings, if he honestly believes that, I feel bad for him,” Sharpe said. “You see, I didn’t tarnish his name. I didn’t put the stain on his resume. He did that.”
The Chargers host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football this week. It will be Gates’ first regular-season game action since the final game of the 2014 season.
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