This week, we were fortunate enough to interview Detroit Lions wide receiver, Golden Tate. We talked about his career, spanning from high school to Notre Dame, to winning the Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks as well as the current season. We ended our discussion by talking about more general topics, as well as speaking on his legacy.
InHaleSports: Coming into college, you were a dual sport stud, excelling in baseball and football. You were drafted twice into the MLB. Was football always your main focus?
GT: Actually, baseball was my first love and I ended up developing a love for football because my dad played. Once I got to college, I had an opportunity to play both, so I wanted to definitely try both out before I made any irrational decisions.
InHaleSports: How did a kid from Hendersonville, Tennessee end up playing for the Charlie Weis and the Fighting Irish?
GT: I went to a Catholic high school (PJP 2nd), and you know, between the catholic high school, and it was one of my first trips. I actually didn’t know too much about Notre Dame, and people started talking about it a lot. I started doing my research, and it was a Catholic University, and I took a trip, and kind of just fell in love with it.
InHaleSports: The Seattle Seahawks drafted you, where you spent 4 seasons, molding yourself into the player you are today. What about your experience in Seattle has stayed with you as your career has progressed and continues to progress?
GT:I was very, very blessed to have the opportunity to play in Seattle for four years. I would say the whole experience was great. When I came to Seattle, no one knew much about Seattle. We (Seattle) didn’t really get much respect, no TV time, and when I got there, Pete Carroll and John Schneider, really started to change that. We started to become more known really quickly, known for our draft classes and the way we played. That was during a time when the 49er’s were a powerhouse, and so that became a huge rivalry. Just kind of being there; you know my first year being there, we were kind of seen as nobodies, and building it up, all the way to being a Super Bowl Champ, was just something special, and I’ll always value the relationship I have with those guys.
InHaleSports: You talked about a lack of respect that you felt in Seattle. In fact, I believe that you and Doug Baldwin spoke about feeling disrespected during your time in Seattle. In your first season in Detroit, you posted career numbers for yards and receptions, and the team made the playoffs. Do you think that you earned that respect, or are you still fighting for it?
GT:I think mentally, I’m always fighting to be a little bit better. That’s just my mentality and that’s how I think you survive for a long time in this league, is to keep grinding. I try not to have a mentality that I have it figured out, because that’s when I think that I’ll be in trouble. So I just kind of take it every day, it’s a battle everyday. You have to understand that everyday, these scouts and these coaches are trying to find someone to replace you. And that helps me just continue to grind and work.
InHaleSports: Congrats on the big win against the Colts. How does it feel to not only win the first game, but also one in which you and the team came back to win late in the 4th?
GT: It’s huge. I always believe that the hardest one to get is the first one. And that’s something what we did, we got that first win, on the road. It’s hard to win on the road. It doesn’t matter what we did last week, if we don’t come back this week and handle business like we can and should. It feels good to be 1-0, especially getting a win on the road, against a good team who’s going to score a lot of points this year.
InHaleSports: After winning a game like that, I can imagine you are happy about the team, you are excited. How do you prepare mentally for week 2 against the Titans?
GT: Just try to be a little bit better. I think the good teams, they stack good weeks and good practices one after another, and that’s how they become really really good. What you don’t want to happen is you get a win like we did, and come back and have a poor week of preparation and they know that you’re in trouble, so we just want to keep building.
ML: While in Detroit, you got to play opposite of Calvin Johnson. With him retiring this past offseason, how excited are you for the opportunity to get a larger role within the offense.
GT: As a competitor, I’m always looking for opportunities to help my team win. I’m just trying to bring a Super Bowl to Detroit. It’s a continuous grind. I’m excited to be able to do more, and hopefully they will utilize me, but it’s early, we’ll see what happens.
InHaleSports: A lot has been said about Colin Kaepernick and his protest against racism in America, by refusing to stand for the national anthem. Likewise, your former team held a “protest” this week, by linking arms to show unity within the team. What’s your take on these protests?
GT: I agree with the cause that everyone is standing for, but I’m not sure if I agree with how, like during the national anthem. I work a lot with our military, and I appreciate what our military is doing everyday. Things that we can see, the things that we don’t know they are doing overseas. I know a lot of men and women have died for this country, to make it so we are the best country in the world. I think we do have some injustices within America that we need to change immediately. I think our country has taken steps backwards, by letting this police brutalities happen over and over. I feel like they are happening way too much in society. I think it would be one thing if the people committing these crimes were being held responsible, and being tried and being put into jail, but I feel like they’re not. I think that’s what the outrage is. I do support what these guys are representing.
InHaleSports: In 20 years after your football career has ended, how do you want the world to remember Golden Tate III?
GT: Hopefully, not only do they remember me as a great athlete on the field but even a better person off the field, as far as being charitable and giving back to our community and our youth. I hope I leave the game of football, a better game than when I came in.
InHaleSports: We have to ask you about the Packers game in 2012, where you caught the game winning reception as you came down in the end zone. What do you remember from that game and how do you think that, that changed the way the NFL defined what a catch is?
GT: That game really changed my life, and that play has become a part of who I am, and will probably forever be a part of who I am. I think it was a great football play, a lot of competing and I came down with the ball. I think I had two hands on the ball, along with two feet and the touchdown, and I think that’s a touchdown. I didn’t know that it would have a ripple effect on the referees and what’s a catch and what’s not a catch, but it is what it is.