CHARGERS: Gates feels he still has something to prove
July 28, 2012 4:50 pm • By SCOTT BAIR firstname.lastname@example.org
— Scott Bair
SAN DIEGO — Media members gathered around Antonio Gates on the first day of full-squad training camp, waiting for that trademark smile.
There was, after all, plenty to be happy about. Gates came to camp fully healthy for the first time in two years. He was lighter in frame and on his feet, seemingly poised to make his 10th season one of his best.
The pearly whites, however, never showed.
He talked about ridding the roster of prima donnas. He talked with optimism about this year's renovated roster, focusing on the heightened level of accountability for players in camp. Everyone, he said, must earn the right to be a Charger.
It's the mentality of an undrafted free agent, one he has never truly let go of. Gates entered the NFL in 2003, unheralded and inexperienced, and doesn't believe eight straight Pro Bowl selections, five All-Pro selections and statistical achievements aplenty give him the right to take anything for granted.
"What I've done in the past has no relevance to this upcoming season," Gates said. "I still look at it like I'm unproven for the 2012 season, and that's a mentality derived from being an undrafted free agent.
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