There has been a lot of press about who has and who hasn’t shown up for the OTAs in the NFL as training camps are getting underway. While people point to guys like Tom Brady, Le’Veon Bell and more for not showing up to workout in the OTAs, the Los Angeles Chargers just proved why some stars should keep away from these voluntary workouts. In the very first day of the Chargers’ OTAs this year, starting tight end Hunter Henry tore his ACL in the right knee. This is a huge blow for the Chargers because they released their future Hall of Fame tight end, Antonio Gates, earlier this offseason.

Hunter Henry injury

The devastating season-ending injury happened early in the day during the Los Angeles Chargers team drills.

The team was on the field running drills when Hunter Henry went down with the ACL tear. He walked off the field no his own and the trainers treated him. After this, he remained on the sidelines and watched the rest of the session. After that, head coach Anthony Lynn said that he was “fine” and they were holding him back from returning “because we can.”

That turned out to be a complete lie. The 23-year-old tight end suffered the ACL tear and ended his chance to enter the 2018 season as the undisputed starting tight end for the Los Angeles Chargers. He took over the role last season and had 45 receptions for 579 yards along with four touchdowns. Since Hunter Henry was coming in as the starter, the Chargers released Antonio Gates since he would not get much playing time anyway behind Henry.

Is Antonio Gates returning?

After getting released, Antonio Gates still has not signed with another team yet.

Since he already has a strong relationship with quarterback Philip Rivers, it makes sense that the Los Angeles Chargers would look to him first as a replacement for Hunter Henry. Their only other options are a blocking tight end in Virgil Green (71 total receptions in seven seasons). There are also younger tight ends on the roster in second season undrafted free agent Sean Culkin, and two undrafted rookies in Ben Johnson and Cole Hunt.

Asked earlier in the OTAs about the absence of Melvin Ingram, the team said that they were not worried because they were sure he was getting in shape. They might be happy now that he didn’t show up and risk injury for these OTAs. As for Antonio Gates, Philip Rivers feels the tight end can still play and mentioned they have worked together for 14 seasons now and it should be a good run if the Los Angeles Chargers call him.