Chargers tight end Antonio Gates returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since serving his four-game suspension. After practice, he spoke to the media about a number of topics.
On his return to the facility:
“I was nervous driving back in because you just never know what to expect once you’ve disappeared for four weeks and try to come back.”
On his extra motivation from former Broncos tight end Shannon Sharpe:
So many people doubted me in terms of coming from basketball, saying, 'There's no way this guy can make this team.' I was able to become a starter as a rookie. Now, 'You're too old.' There is always something. Now, that four-game suspension. 'How are you going to return? How are you going to come back?' Last year, it was my sister passing away. There always is that something giving me motivation.
"This year, it's the fact that some people -- and you don't want to say names but a former tight end for the Broncos, [who said I was] taking some kind of steroid and 'he just ain't natural.' It just gave me more motivation. Fortunately, I get a chance to go out and prove I can still play this game."
Head coach Mike McCoy on his return:
“Obviously it’s great to have a player like Antonio Gates back. It looked like the old Antonio Gates running around out there ... You can’t replace Antonio Gates. He’s one of the best of all time. I just think it’s great to see him back out there. The way he works and conditions every day, the way he runs his route with technique, it’s a great example for our football team how we want to work and do things.”
NEWS AND NOTES:
Because they get an extra day of practice due to the Monday night game, the Chargers did not have to put forth an injury report today. In the portion of practice open to the media, C Chris Watt, WR Malcom Floyd, CB Brandon Flowers and S Jahleel Addae were among the notables who were practicing.