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Gates To Miss First Four Regular-Season Games To Suspension
Antonio Gates has been suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances, the team announced on Thursday.

He will be eligible to return to the Chargers’ active roster on Monday, October 5 following the team’s October 4 game against the Cleveland Browns. Gates is eligible to participate in all offseason and preseason practices and games.

“We are tremendously disappointed for our team and our fans as well as Antonio, but no more disappointed than Antonio is with himself," the club said in a statement. "Antonio is a member of the Chargers’ family and we will continue to support him 100-percent. We have the utmost confidence he will stay in excellent shape for the season and be ready to go when he returns in Week 5.

"While it's unfortunate to not have him to start the season, we have complete confidence our tight end group will continue to play at a high level.”

Gates apologized for mistakenly taking a banned substance.

"In my 12 years in the NFL, I have taken tremendous pride in upholding the integrity of the NFL shield and all that it entails," the veteran TE said. "I have taken extreme care of my body with a holistic approach and never taken any substance that was illegal or banned by the NFL.

“In an effort to recover from a long season and although I was unaware at the time, I regret to confirm that I tested positive for a substance that is currently on the NFL banned substance list. As an NFL veteran and team leader, I should have done my due diligence to ensure that what I was taking for recovery was within the NFL guidelines. I have always believed that ignorance is no excuse when it comes to these issues, and I take full responsibility for my actions.

“I’d like to express my sincere apologies to the Chargers, my teammates, coaches, fans and the league who have always supported me and expected and gotten nothing but the highest level of integrity from me."

Gates merged back onto the highway to the Hall of Fame at age 34, holding off the pronounced arrival of backup Ladarius Green with another Pro Bowl year last season.

He caught 69 passes for 821 yards and 12 TDs while he turned 35 during mini-camp, health questions are abated by the veteran treatment afforded from the coaching staff -- and apparently with some additional help.

While this news will drop him out of the draftable range, but that doesn't mean he won't have value as a TE2 or free-agent pickup.