Hunter Henry defeats ACL during Chargers' OTA, probably ending his 2018 season



The Chargers pulled away from tight end Antonio Gates this offseason after 15 years with the franchise, planning to expand the role of talented third-year player Hunter Henry. Now is the time for a Plan B.

Henry suffered a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament during a drill on Tuesday, the Chargers announced on Twitter. Adam Schefter of ESPN first broke the news .

Tuesday marked the first day of organized team activities for the Chargers, who come from a 9-7 season that allowed them to finish in Second place in the AFC West. The first odds of the future classify the team as the favorite to win the AFC West, with the Westgate Superbook listing the Chargers as +150 to finish first in the division, followed by the Chiefs (+200), Raiders (+300) and Broncos (+ 650).

Henry was expected to play a large role in the team's potential playoff offer. By splitting the time with Gates in his first two seasons, Henry caught 81 of his 115 targets for 1,057 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2016-17. Gates caught 83 of his 145 targets for 864 yards and 10 touchdowns in the same period.

With Henry out, the Chargers' new tight end is Virgil Green, who spent his first seven seasons in Denver before signing with the Chargers this offseason. With a lot of potential, Green only caught 71 passes for 807 yards with four touchdowns in 100 games in his career.

Other options for the Chargers could include going back up with Gates despite his late slowdown, signing a free agent or hitting the trade market for a potential starter. Available free agents include Coby Fleener, Brent Celek, Marcedes Lewis and Gary Barnidge, who did not play in 2017, but caught 79 passes for 1,043 yards and nine touchdowns with the Browns in 2015.

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