TE Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers:
Not technically retired, Gates is currently not on an NFL roster heading into training camp next month. If he is indeed retired, he’ll go down with the record for most all-time touchdown receptions for a tight end with 116. There’s no denying that Gates is one of the finest tight ends in NFL history, and that makes it even more of a shame that he never won a Super Bowl.
Forever linked with Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers and Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson, Gates never got over the hump the Patriots presented. The legend should rate as a first-ballot Hall of Famer, an unreal feat considering he never played college football. He attempted to play both football and basketball at Michigan State, but later transferred to Eastern Michigan and the College of Sequoias before settling in at Kent State to play basketball when then-MSU coach Nick Saban wanted him to solely play football. The Chargers signed him in his first NFL workout and the rest was history. Unfortunately, he never won a Super Bowl there, however.