My Big NFL Five: Tight Ends

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Here is a very versatile position. They can block. They can run routes. They can catch. They can jump high. They are extremely dangerous in the middle of the field and the red zone. The tight end position has seen a few great names, which includes these five:

 

Dec 23, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates (85) runs for a touchdown after catching a pass from San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) during the second half at MetLIfe Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

5. Antonio Gates (Chargers)
One of a couple of great tight ends to come out of San Diego, Antonio Gates provided a huge threat in the Chargers passing game in the mid to late 2000s, and was a huge part of Phillip Rivers’ and the rest of the offensive success. He was heralded as one of, if not the best tight end during this time as well, with a great mixture of receiving abilities and blocking abilities. He is currently in the decline of his career, but this is one career that is most definitely worthy of a bust in Canton one day.

 

4. Vernon Davis (49ers)
He has been there for the good and bad times in the Bay Area, and has been a good part of it. A lot of us remember the game-winning TD catch in the 2011 Divisional Playoffs against the Saints, but there were really bad times in San Fran before that, and he was possibly the only bright spot on that team. He is the one that really started the deep threat tight end trend we see today with stars like Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham. Starting with him, the tight ends of today are more like receivers. They are a lot faster and get open a lot more. He should most definitely have a bust in Canton when he retires.

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Tags: Featured NFL Popular Tight End Tony Gonzalez

  • NativeSanDiegan

    As a lifelong Chargers fan (>50yrs), appreciate the recognition. But John Mackey has to take Vernon Davis spot. Unfortunately for Gates longevity, he was the victim of a couple of bad cheap shots. The worst was in a playoff game vs Titans (coached by Jeff Fisher who happened to be on the competition committee, so his team got away with more penalties). Anyway, Gates made a catch for a first down, falling to the ground. He laid there prepared for a hard hit (expecting a bit of a cheap shot). After a few seconds of just lying there and obviously not trying to get up and run, he slowly started to get up. He put a hand on the ground and slowly started to plant the toe of his cleats firmly in the ground when a big linebacker dove full speed Into his back. This not only injured Antonio’s back, it completely ripped all of his muscles in the bottom of his foot from where they attached near the ball of his foot (the plantar fascia). The Chargers already had the game won, but of course no penalty. That injury completely wiped out Gates’ next 2 years although he tried to play through it. He had no speed and couldn’t make cuts for over 2 years. He never regained his deep speed (yes, he could go deep on almost anyone) and had to round off his cuts. He has continued to play through all of it, and if not for that one cheap shot, would still be going deep and have Gonzalez longevity. But he never complained and just did other facets of his game to help the team.