This post has been updated.
One day after he refuted a report that he was keeping quarterback Philip Rivers and tight end Antonio Gates from attending the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony Saturday of former teammate LaDainian Tomlinson, Los Angeles Chargers Coach Anthony Lynn told reporters that Gates will travel to Canton, Ohio, for the festivities. Lynn also said that Rivers will remain in California and participate in Saturday’s joint practice with the other team that relocated to Los Angeles in the offseason, the Rams.
Citing two sources, Alex Marvez of the Sporting News reported Monday that Lynn was “insisting” that Rivers and Gates “participate in the team’s first training camp session at the StubHub Center,” the Chargers’ temporary home until completion of a stadium that will host both them and the Rams. According to Marvez, Gates was considering going to the ceremony in Canton anyway, even at the risk of a fine.
Lynn subsequently claimed that he was discussing the matter with his two stars and that there was no dissension. “I’ve talked to Philip,” he said (via the Orange County Register). “I’ve talked to Antonio. I’ve even talked to LT.
“We’re all on the same page. At the end of the day, we’re going to make the best decision for our football team. And that’s it.”
Of reports that he was insisting Rivers and Gates not attend, Lynn said, “I don’t know where that came from. I guess you just can’t believe everything you read on Twitter.”
Tomlinson played for the Chargers between 2001 and 2009 before ending his career with two seasons with the Jets. The 2006 NFL MVP and a five-time Pro Bowler for the Chargers spent many years as a teammate of Gates and Rivers, who joined the team in 2003 and 2004, respectively.
On Sunday, Gates said to reporters (via ESPN) that the Hall of Fame induction was “a special honor for a special person,” adding, “I’m happy for him. It’s well-deserved, and hopefully I can be there to attend.” However, Rivers told NFL Network’s Alex Flanagan on Monday that he was not going to the Canton ceremony, although he would “love” to, because his priority was with the Chargers.
After 55 years in San Diego, not only are the Chargers trying to establish a new home in Los Angeles, but Lynn is in his first year as a head coach. The Rams, meanwhile, relocated from St. Louis but played in Los Angeles from 1946 to 1994 and have a far greater fan base in the city, thus possibly giving the Chargers more incentive to have their best players on hand for Saturday’s joint practice.