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NFL Star Antonio Gates

Shoots TV Show Cameo

... On Day Off

10/29/2014 6:22 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

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ANTONIO GATES IS BACK!!!

Not just because he's having one of the best seasons of his career, but he's also returning to "The League" ... and TMZ Sports has the footage.

The San Diego Chargers tight end used his day off from practice to come up to L.A. to shoot a cameo on the hilarious FXX show ... and he talked to us about the shoot on his way off the set.

Gates has been on the show before -- and was hilarious ... when he was confronted by one of the characters in a hot tub whose fantasy team had lost because Gates scored a TD.

So, does Antonio have a post-NFL career in Hollywood?? Check out the clip ... he's not exactly shooting down the idea.

Darren Sproles' Wife

STOP ATTACKING ME

I Didn't Curse the Saints!

3/13/2014 7:41 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

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Darren Sproles' wife tells TMZ Sports ... she's under attack online over the way she publicly trashed the New Orleans Saints -- but she wants the fans to know her beef is ONLY with management.  

After Michel Sproles learned that N.O. was planning to trade her running back husband, she went to Instagram and said the situation was "f**ked up." She also said that God would "get u back."

We spoke with Michel ... who tells us she's been hammered by angry Saints fans who have been blasting her online -- calling her a "golddigger," a "bitch" and worse ... and she wants it to stop.

"I started out just jokingly expressing myself," Michel says ... "It's gotten misconstrued. I wasn't attacking the Saints FANS." Michel says her beef is only with the front office.

Still, Michel says she doesn't regret posting the message ... but notes, "I maybe should have delivered it differently."

"When you're sad, you express yourself as you normally wouldn't."

As for Darren, Michel says he predicted that her post would "blow up" before she put it online ... she disagreed. 

"He was right, I was wrong," Michel says. Though she says he hasn't commented about the situation since the post went up. 

Michel says she's now trying to move forward and focus on Darren's new team -- the Philadelphia Eagles. 

As for the haters, Michel says ... "These people don't have to follow me, they can voluntarily exit my Instagram."

Darren Sproles

WIFE BLASTS SAINTS

You're Screwing My Husband!!

3/13/2014 6:13 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

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Hell hath no fury like the wife of a Saints player scorned ... just ask Darren Sproles, whose wife BLASTED the team after reading reports that N.O. is planning to trade him. 

Darren's wife, Michel, UNLOADED on the Saints on Instagram yesterday ... saying by trading the running back, they're robbing him of the opportunity to play for a team of his choosing ... a right she believes he's earned. 

"I am so disappointed in the Saints organization & the way they are treating my husband," Michel wrote.

"I understand this is a brutal business but when u have a good guy who works hard & does a lot for the community u would think they would show a little more respect."

"To verbalize to him that they will release him so at least he can choose the team he wants to spend his last few years left in the NFL on & then take it back without a word & try to trade him is f**ked up."

She then says God will take revenge on the team for her -- explaining, "The way my God is set up he gets the last say & can get u back better than the Compton Curse out I wanna give these muthaf**kas!"

She concluded with a couple of hashtags ... #YesICurseAndPraiseGod #OnlyGodCanJudgeMe #IPutHisChargerPicsUpBecauseTheSaintsAintSh*tForWhatTheyDoin

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE ... A short time later, Michel posted a follow-up on Instagram saying her initial post was an "experiment" to expose her husband's "real fans."

Ha. Yeah, right ... 

[H/T to our friends at BlackSportsOnline, who broke this story]

'MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL'

Texans vs. Chargers (Mascots)

Who'd Win in A Fight?

9/9/2013 3:12 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

0906_monday_night_football_mascot_fightHere is horned Houston Texans' mascot "Toro" raging on the field (left) -- and the electrifying San Diego Chargers mascot "Bolt" shocking the crowd (right).

The two squads are set to do battle on "Monday Night Football" in just a few hours -- but the real question ...

Shawne Merriman

I Lost 'Ninja Warrior'

'Cause I'm Too Damn Heavy

7/31/2013 12:15 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

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There's a GOOD REASON you've never seen a 260-pound "Ninja Warrior," 'cause they suck on trampolines ... so says ex-NFL star Shawne Merriman.

Shawne knows from experience -- the former San Diego Chargers linebacker recently appeared on the show ... and started off strong ... only to crash hard when it came time to negotiate the trampoline obstacle.

"260 don't work on trampolines," Merriman says ... "My weight made the trampoline touch the ground."

Gotta give the guy credit -- he actually put together a pretty solid run before bailing on the jump. But SM says if he's invited back next year, he GUARANTEES he'll finish the course.

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Chargers' Ryan Mathews

Not Arrested

7/1/2013 8:15 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

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San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews was NOT arrested for a bar brawl ... TMZ has learned.

There are multiple reports on the Internet that Matthews knocked out a guy Sunday during a bar brawl in San Diego's Gaslamp district -- but San Diego PD spokesman Edward Zwibel tells us Ryan was not taken into custody, and is not a suspect in the fight.

Zwibel confirms officers did respond for the fight ... and they did make one arrest, but Mathews had nothing to do with it.

In fact, he says officers never even saw Mathews ... though he was aware of rumors that he was in the bar.

So ... star athlete NOT busted. It does happen.

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8:55 AM PT -- Mathews just tweeted about the situation -- saying, "Home healthy and happy! Don't know how my name got in this but I'm good!

NFL Star LaDainian Tomlinson

You Couldn't PAY Me

To Unretire

5/29/2013 12:50 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

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San Diego Chargers
legend LaDainian Tomlinson will NEVER return to the NFL -- despite reports of a lucrative offer from his old team -- telling TMZ, retired life is just too good to give up.

LT was out in L.A. Monday when we asked about the Chargers reportedly offering Tomlinson a new contract this spring ... after he retired last year.

Tomlinson told us ... life after the game is so amazing, there's no way he'd ever accept another contract ... which is pretty crazy considering how integral a player he was. Watch the clip.

Oh yeah, LT also weighs in on the Chargers' latest acquisition ... Manti Te'o ... it's pretty funny.

Nick Lachey Accuser

He Choked Me And

Called My Wife a B*tch

12/4/2012 6:30 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

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Nick Lachey isn't just a heckler ... he CHOKED a San Diego Chargers fan at Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday and called the guy's wife a "f**king b*tch" ... this according to multiple people involved in the incident ... but Nick says it's all BS.

TMZ has obtained new video ... which shows Lachey getting aggressive with a Chargers fan who was wearing an Igor Olshansky #99 jersey (Igor played for SD from 2004 to 2008). 

We spoke to the guy in the jersey ... who tells us Lachey and his buddies -- all die-hard Bengals fans -- had been talking trash to him about the jersey for most of the 2nd half of the game.

The Chargers fan says Lachey made one particularly offensive comment about Olshansky that crossed the line ... and that's when the fan's wife shot back to Nick, "Well, he lasted longer than your boy band."

We're told Lachey flipped out and called the wife a "f**king b*tch" ... along with "a host of other profanities."

Tensions exploded ... and the Chargers fan says Nick lunged towards him ... grabbed him by the throat and shoved him to the ground. The fight can be seen in the footage obtained by TMZ.

As we previously reported, stadium security quickly responded and ejected Nick and his buddies. The Chargers fans were NOT asked to leave.

After the incident, Nick went to Twitter and BRAGGED about the situation -- saying, "Just got kicked out of the chargers stadium and couldn't be prouder! Go Cincy Bengals."

He later acknowledged the altercation ... tweeting, "i simply don't appreciate someone turning around and putting their finger in my face. call me crazy, but that deserved a reaction."

We're told the Chargers fan plans to file a police report against Lachey.

Nick's rep tells TMZ, “This was a verbal exchange between sports fans of opposing teams that went too far. While Nick isn't proud of what happened, he did not choke anyone or use defamatory language to any women at the stadium -- which the video tape clearly supports."

The rep also says police interviewed Nick outside the stadium and released him without charges.

Nick Lachey

Kicked Out of NFL Game

for Talking Smack [Update]

12/3/2012 2:20 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Exclusive Video

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2:15 PM PT --
Lachey has issued a statement about the situation on Twitter ... saying, "For the record, i was not kicked out of the chargers game for excessive 'trash talking'. no, that honor belonged to the guy in front of me!"

He added, "i simply don't appreciate someone turning around and putting their finger in my face. call me crazy, but that deserved a reaction."

Lachey also praised Chargers fans ... saying, "aside from a few exceptions, i had a great time hanging with Charger fans all afternoon. honestly, some of the nicest fans around." 

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Nick Lachey -- a HUGE Cincinnati Bengals fan -- was escorted out of the stands at the San Diego Chargers football game this weekend ... after security decided his TRASH TALK crossed the line.

It's unclear exactly what Nick said to piss off stadium security ... but after he was ejected, the former boy-bander actually BRAGGED about getting the boot, tweeting:

"Just got kicked out of the chargers stadium and couldn't be prouder! Go Cincy Bengals"

A short time later, AFTER Cincy defeated the crappy Chargers, Lachey tweeted again:

"Bengals win again. i'd talk trash to everyone in SD, but what's the point? you already had me kicked out of the stadium and you still lost."

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As for the kid in the Chargers gear in the photo with Nick, he was just a random fan -- and after the game, the kid's dad fired off a tweet to Lachey:

"Thanks for taking the pic with my son and being cool to us. Congrats on the Bengals win!"

FYI -- you can probably expect MORE trash talk from Lachey this season, his Bengals are 7-5 and are tied with Pittsburgh in the race for the 2nd Wild Card playoff spot in the AFC.

Junior Seau

Chargers Retire No. 55

During Emotional Tribute

9/16/2012 8:30 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news


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The San Diego Chargers honored the memory of Junior Seau today before their home opener against the Tennessee Titans and officially retired the NFL superstar's jersey -- No. 55.

Seau's parents and children were down on the field during the emotional tribute -- which was officiated by legendary Chargers QB Dan Fouts.

Fouts said, "There is only one Junior Seau and only one 55 ... and they belong together forever.”

Seau played 13 seasons with the Chargers and was selected for 12 Pro-bowl appearances.

Seau was found dead in his home on May 2 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 43.

NFL Star

Accused of Choking

Tila Tequila

9/6/2009 2:04 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Shawne Merriman of the San Diego Chargers was taken into custody by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department after an alleged altercation with Tila Tequila.

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San Diego Sheriff's deputies responded to a call this morning at 3:45 AM. Tila claims she was "choked and physically restrained" by Merriman after she tried to leave his residence. 

Merriman is accused of battery and false imprisonment.

Tila was transported to a local hospital while Merriman was taken into custody. His bail was set at $58,000.

Tila TequilaUPDATE -- Tila Tequila has been released from the hospital.

UPDATE -- A lawyer for Merriman denied all charges and says Tila was "extremely inebriated" and that Merriman tried to stop her from leaving the home because he didn't feel it was safe for her to do so.

UPDATE -- A.J. Smith, the general manager of the San Diego Chargers, released this statement: "It's disappointing to hear about the issue involving Shawne Merriman. We'll continue to monitor the situation and let the legal process run its course."

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