Antonio Gates doesn’t have to care what anyone thinks, only about the truth as he knows it.
He is close enough to Canton, has played again and again through so much pain, has set so many standards and has made so much money that he is entitled.
He doesn’t brandish this right like a weapon. He wears it elegantly, like a crown.
Gates didn’t play Sunday in Cincinnati, hasn’t played since the first week of December and won’t play until next season. It doesn’t matter. He was there, has been there and will be there for some time.