Gates joined the Chargers in 2003 as an undrafted free agent, famously converting from basketball where he helped lead Kent State to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16. He caught just 30 passes for 316 yards and was targeted only 52 times past year, his lowest totals since his rookie season.
The 6-foot-3, 251 pound prospect was named USC's co-MVP for the 2017 season and recorded 75 tackles and 9.5 sacks previous year with the Trojans. He went on to become the top receiver in franchise history, catching 927 passes for 11,508 yards and 114 touchdowns - the National Football League scoring record for a tight end.
Rivers addressed Gates' tenuous future earlier this month after an offseason workout.
The Chargers also signed tight end Virgil Green as a free agent from Denver last month. "We all know our friendship", Rivers said.
James' selection marks the 35th straight NFL Draft with at least one Seminole selected, a streak that began in 1984, and makes him the 31st defensive back drafted from Florida State in the last 30 years. "If it were not to work out, and if he were to decide to hang it up, who knows?" He is the Chargers' franchise leader in receptions (927), receiving yards (11,508) and touchdown catches, surpassing the output of Hall of Famers Lance Alworth, Charlie Joiner and Kellen Winslow.
Los Angeles ranked near the bottom in run defense. I feel like on this one, Chargers fans will just have to trust Telesco's ability to find the right player. We can't say enough about the type of person and player he is.
Information from ESPN's Adam Schefter and Eric D. Williams and The Associated Press was used in this report.