Antonio Gates believes Deshaun Watson's career will survive the sexual misconduct allegations ... and he WILL set foot on an NFL field again.
Gates didn't make any predictions about how the legal action against Watson will play out ... but when speaking specifically to Watson's football career, he thinks the QB will weather the storm.
"He seems like a good dude," Gates tells TMZ Sports. "Obviously he made some -- I don't even know if he made these mistakes. But, if he did, hopefully he can recover from them. This is the land of the free. You always get second chances."
He continued ... "I do [think he will play again.] He's too good of a player, so I do. Hopefully, when all this unfolds, we'll see how it goes."