Gates primed to bounce back

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#GoIrish #Aztecs #SDGulls #Raiders #THFC #RipCity
Staff member
Jun 20, 2005
Chula Vista, CA

In his relatively short football career, Chargers tight end Antonio Gates has made a habit of making clutch plays, just like he did in overtime during the Bolts’ win at Washington last Sunday.

On Wednesday, he promised that he won’t make a habit of playing like he did through the first four quarters.

“Hopefully you’ll never see a game like that by me again,” Gates said. “I’m doing everything I can to make sure I don’t have another one like that.”

Gates finished the game with three receptions for 39 yards. On the Chargers opening play of the overtime period, quarterback Drew Brees bootlegged and his tight end in the flat. Gates turned on the jets and raced 24-yards down the sideline to set up LaDainian Tomlinson’s game-winning touchdown run.

“He made the big one and the terrific run when it counted,” Chargers Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer said. “I always talk about focusing on the next play. He certainly did that and came through for us.”

Two weeks ago against the Buffalo Bills, Gates suffered a sprained foot that caused him to miss nearly a week of practice. While the foot didn’t seem to bother him, the lack of work did.

“It was hard because I sat out the whole week without practicing,” Gates said. “I really didn’t have the timing down. I want to get that back, so I’m practicing as hard as I can. My foot wasn’t an issue last week.”

Gates went through a full practice with his teammates Wednesday as they began preparations for Sunday night’s matchup with the Oakland Raiders. He plans on adding to his team-high 59 catches and 823 yards.

“My foot is feeling fine,” Gates said. “And my hands are doing well, too.”

Oben returns

Offensive tackle Roman Oben practiced Wednesday for the first time in a month after suffering a foot injury on Oct. 30. He’s listed as questionable for Sunday and did sit out a portion of the team drills.

“He looked okay, but I wouldn’t say that he’s game-ready today,” Schottenheimer said. “But we’ve still got a few days, so we’ll see how things play out.”

The durable Oben has missed three contests due to the injury. Being on the sideline is not something the ten-year veteran is used to. Prior to this season, he had missed only one contest in the last eight years.

“It felt good to be out there,” Oben said. “I’ve come a long way from how I felt a month ago. There has been some frustration with wanting to get out there. I’ve got to be patient and do everything that they tell me to do.”

Also missing practice were linebacker Steve Foley (neck), tight end Justin Peelle (shoulder) and DeQuincy Scott (leg). Wide receiver Vincent Jackson (hamstring) and safety Terrence Kiel (ankle) missed a portion of team drills. All are listed as questionable.

Special teams boost

Schottenheimer has said in recent weeks that the team would look to improve special teams personnel, and they did just that Wednesday.

The Chargers signed eight-year veteran safety Scott McGarrahan to the active roster and placed linebacker Ben Leber on injured reserve.

“Scott is an excellent special teams player,” Schottenheimer said. “We’ll work as quickly as we can to get him ready to make some contributions in the kicking game and at safety.”

McGarrahan spent the 2003-04 seasons with the Tennessee Titans and led the team in special teams tackles in 2003 (24) and tied for the team lead in 2004 (16).

“There’s no question that’s why they brought me here, and I’m excited about getting to help out,” McGarrahan said. “That’s how I’ve made my niche in this league.”

McGarrahan had worked out for a handful of teams in recent weeks but has not played this season. He underwent elbow surgery in the offseason and has sense spent time in Cameron, Texas where he and his wife Lindsay operate “Resolution Ranch.” Through the ranch, McGarrahan works with teens struggling with drugs, alcohol and academic problems. He currently has 14 students at the camp and has focused on that project for the last few months.

Prior to his time in Tennessee, McGarrahan spent two seasons with the Miami Dolphins and three with the Green Bay Packers. He also played in Qualcomm Stadium as a visitor during his college days at New Mexico.

Another honor

For the third time this season, Tomlinson was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week. LT carried the ball 25 times for 184 yards and three touchdowns, including a game-winning 41-yard run in overtime, for a 23-17 win at Washington. Tomlinson's other two scoring runs were from one yard in the first quarter for the game’s first score and from 32 yards with 1:07 left in regulation to tie the score at 17-17, forcing overtime.

Tomlinson, the No. 2 rusher in the AFC with 1,086 yards, gained 147 of his 184 yards in the second half and overtime as the Chargers overcame a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit. He also became the seventh player in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in each of his first five seasons.

One game at a time

Many of the Chargers players watched and all were impressed with the Indianapolis Colts’ defeat of the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday. As for talk at Peyton Manning and Company’s run toward perfection?

“Ask me in about two weeks,” Brees said.