Consider wide receiver Golden Tate a humbled man.
A first-team All-American and Fred Biletnikoff Award winner, signifying the best college receiver in the country, during his final season at Notre Dame, Tate landed on the inactive list and watched in street clothes from the sideline for his first NFL game last week.
With only five receivers on the active roster, Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll chose to go with Ben Obomanu over Tate because of the Auburn player’s impact on special teams.
Tate had been a daily highlight reel during training camp, making a series of head-turning plays during drills. But once training camp ended and weekly game preparation began, Tate struggled to pick up the nuances and precise routes offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates wants in his West Coast offense. Tate has played noticeably slower because he appears to be thinking.
“I kind of sensed it earlier in the week when I wasn’t getting very many reps,” Tate said about being inactive on Sunday. “But that just made me work that much harder when I did get my reps. For me, it was kind of a lesson learned. Don’t ever relax. As far as I’m concerned, my spot was only guaranteed in theory for this year. I’m going to have to earn my way onto the (53-man roster) next year, and so on.”
Carroll said Tate is part of the team’s game plan for Denver, but whether he will suit up on Sunday remains a game-time decision.
“I love what he’s done to show us that he can make plays,” Carroll said. “The consistency is what you’re looking for. And sometimes in the young guys you just don’t see the fine point or the details enough where you can count on them to get lined up right and run those exact depths and get everything crisply run.”
During practice Wednesday, Tate followed his own advice, making several impressive catches during the two-hour workout.
“The biggest thing for me is it’s a long season,” Tate said.
“So I’ve just got to keep my head up and learn from that, learn from the fact that this is what happens when you don’t take care of your business. So I’ve got to come out and work really hard.”