Wed. Oct 21st, 2020

Golden Tate returns to Detroit after being…

6 min read
Golden Tate returns to Detroit after being...


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Golden Tate isn’t quite sure how he’s going to feel when he walks into Ford Field for the first time since the Detroit Lions traded him last year. Tate spent parts of five seasons with the Lions before they shipped him to Philadelphia midseason.

The New York Giants receiver makes his return Sunday (1 p.m. ET, Fox) to the place he had once hoped to end his career, completely invested in another franchise’s program. That’s just the way Tate operates. He goes all-in where his feet are planted, just as he did in Seattle, Detroit and now New York.

Only the business of football didn’t allow any of the previous stops to be his last. It sets up a potential emotional return to a place where friends remain on the roster and special memories will forever be ingrained.

Tate still talks glowingly about Detroit, Lions fans and some of the team’s personnel.

“We’ll see what happens the day of when I walk into the building,” said Tate, who has led the Giants in receiving yards in two of three games since returning from a four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. “Who knows, I might not be able to control myself, or maybe I’ll be completely calm.”

See, this isn’t cut-and-dried. Tate’s time in Detroit had its moments, but it ended in a peculiar manner.

The sides were negotiating a new deal. The Lions offered Tate a contract that he didn’t believe reflected his worth. Next thing he knew, he was gone.

“They offered me. I declined it. I think like a day later they traded me,” said Tate, who has no hard feelings and is happy with his new home. “They gave me an offer that was not what I thought I was worth. I just respectfully declined it, showed up to work the next day and …”

The two sides weren’t close. There was a significant gap between player and team.

The Lions moved Tate, in the final year of his contract, for a third-round pick seemingly because they knew they likely wouldn’t be able to close the gap between player and team.

“That is kind of what happened. No hard feelings towards the organization,” he said. “I understand it’s a business. Since I left, they’ve gotten rid of a lot of guys that were pretty good on that team. It is what it is when you get a new coaching staff, a new head coach who is going to make this his way. Sometimes there are casualties.”

Tate was one of them with Bob Quinn in his third year as general manager and Matt Patricia as the new coach. Tate was a holdover from the previous regime.

Even though the Lions wanted him, they ultimately decided it was best for everyone involved to move on.

“Certainly those decisions, last year was last year, and I know everyone involved was trying to do everything they could, but in the end, I obviously just want the best for him and everything he has going forward, but certainly know what a challenge I have to try to face him this weekend,” Patricia said this week on a conference call with Giants reporters. “He’s a great player, like I said. I have the utmost respect for him and always have through the course of the years.”

Tate was admittedly disappointed with how it worked out at the time. He was a fan favorite in Detroit and had a strong working relationship with quarterback Matthew Stafford. He didn’t want to leave.

http://www.espn.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/302183/golden-tate-returns-to-detroit-after-being-bummed-about-departure

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