San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates has had an incredible career to this point, and some believe he is Hall of Fame worthy with 8,549 career receiving yards to this point. As Gates continues to pile up the praise and accolades, he is also continuing to produce with 228 receiving yards this season on 15 catches through three games. Gates is also taking the time to praise and help out the tight end behind him, so-called heir apparent Ladarius Green.
Gates told the Chargers official site this about Green, “Absolutely. You saw him make plays last weekend. He’s maturing rapidly at a fast pace. He’s ready to become one of those star status tight ends in this league. I try to give him all the knowledge and experience I have, and hopefully he can make that transition. He’s an upcoming star. I really believe that. He’s just got to get a chance to show it more. He’s like my little brother. It’s like one of those things where you’re rooting for your little brother. Obviously I’m the older brother (and) I’ve done everything that you can possibly do. I’m all about team. I’m all about doing whatever it takes for us to win a championship, and just helping him and watching him mature and watching him grow as a player, you get a satisfaction almost like a parent would get watching their children mature.”
Green was only targeted twice in the loss against the Tennessee Titans, but he came down with both passes for 48 yards. The 23-year-old Louisiana-Lafayette product generated a lot of buzz this preseason, because he came into camp as an improved player between his rookie and sophomore seasons in the NFL. Green was praised for his improved blocking, and he has plenty of upside as a tight end in all facets, with his 6’6″, 238 pound frame looking like the ideal size for a quality blocking TE. As Gates will tell you, blocking is an extremely important part of the game for TEs, even if fans sometimes overlook that part of the game in favor of gaudy receiving numbers (something that Gates also knows a thing or two about).
While he hasn’t had much of a track record, Ladarius Green was a fourth-round pick, and he provides a lot of potential for the Chargers, especially as a possible all-around TE. The praise and close mentoring from Gates are likely extremely beneficial, and Green is a player to watch closely in the coming seasons. He could very well be the next breakout star at tight end, and it doesn’t take somebody highly touted to become a future star at the position (or any position, really); I mean, just look at Antonio Gates and Jimmy Graham.