Antonio Gates is gluten-free and ticked off.

The greats have to keep finding new things to stoke the greatness and so Gates grips his incentive in arms forged of a new resolve.

“It’s the motivation man” he said when asked what the deal was with his chiseled physique. “… Just hearing people talk. I know you’re not supposed to listen to what people say but there’s some collective things that got me motivated.”

Have we heard similar things from Gates in previous seasons? Yes. And in recent years actually it has sounded more desperate than fervent.

Gates has lost weight even gotten leaner before but he has always tended toward Pillsbury Dough Boy more than Man of Steel. It was one of the paradoxes of this future Hall of Famer -- that his stunning talent could come in marshmallow packaging.

Now a veteran of multiple serious foot injuries far closer to the end of his career than the beginning and a little bit freaked out by that rapidly approaching mortality he has eliminated wheat (and some other things) from his diet. Never before in a career going on 11 years has there been this definition this sinew throughout his 255 pounds.