Mailbag: What to expect from Gates

Weekend mail call:

Junior Hernandez from San Diego wants to know if Chargers tight end Antonio Gates is back to full health and what kind of impact can he have this season.

Bill Williamson: He has recently said he feels great. Gates, who turned 32 on Monday, has been feeling with foot ailments for years. However, he has fought through it. There is no doubt Gates is entering the twilight of his career. But I still think he can produce three or four more excellent seasons. If he stays healthy, I see him catching around 70 balls and scoring 10 touchdowns.

Hank from San Jose wants to know if I think rookie receivers Rod Streater and Juron Criner can produce right away in Oakland.

BW: Tough question, Hank. I mean, both rookie receivers looked terrific in OTAs. The next step is training camp and the preseason. Let’s see what happens. Criner is a fifth-round pick from Arizona and Streater is an undrafted rookie from Temple. So far, the two look like they belong. But the NFL isn’t easy and OTAs are designed for receivers to shine. But I am interested to see both this year. If either produces as a rookie, it will be a bonus for the team with good overall talent at the position.

Tony from L.A. wants to know if I think LaDainian Tomlinson will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 2017.

BW: There’s no doubt about it. He had a special career. His numbers stack up with the greats and there is no doubt he will and should be elected into the Hall of Fame as soon as he is eligible.