It was another wide receiver reunion on Saturday when Golden Tate returned to CenturyLink to face his former team in the wild-card matchup. And, much like when wideout Percy Harvin unretired in time to play Seattle for the Buffalo Bills, the Seahawks were happy to reconnect with their ex-teammate.
“It was good seeing Golden,” said middle linebacker Bobby Wagner after Seattle’s 26-6 win. “He’s always a favorite of mine, I admire the way he plays. I feel like he’s a hell of a receiver so it’s always an opportunity to play him and to hit him, too.”
Tate, who was a member of Seahawks’ Super Bowl-winning squad and spent his first four seasons in Seattle. He signed a five-year, $31 million contract with Detroit in 2014 after receiving what he dubbed a “laughable” offer from the Seahawks.
Tate admitted prior to Saturday’s return to CenturyLink that playing against his former teammates was a bit personal telling the Detroit Free Press that beating the Seahawks would mean a little extra to him.
“Yeah,” he told the newspaper Thursday. “We just want to win. We want to win. It’s deeper than me. I want to win because I think this organization deserves to win. I think we’ve earned our way into the playoffs. We had a great week of practice. It’s time to win.
“But I’d be lying if I said personally I don’t want to win as much.”
Tate didn’t perform up to his usual standards Saturday, catching three passes for 25 yards – the longest of which was 13 yards. He also dropped what would have been an easy first down during the Lions’ first possession. Cornerback DeShawn Shead said matched up only once with Tate on Saturday, but enjoyed it.
“Golden Tate is a really good friend of mine,” Shead said. “Coming up when I was a rookie, I would go up against him every day. I think he definitely helped mold me into the player I am. Going against him day-after-day, every day, man-to-man, but he is definitely, definitely a friend. But it was great to go against him, though, and get a win. It was a great battle. He’s a great player and it’s a great matchup.”
Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett, who joked earlier this week that Tate looks like “a bird,” said Seattle’s pass rush kept the Lions from targeting Tate much, but that he too appreciated seeing him Saturday.
“I saw him at the beginning of the game,” Bennett said. “I love Golden. He’s such a great receiver and one of the best players in the NFL and they are lucky to have that guy.”
Strong safety Kam Chancellor, who called Saturday’s playoff win one of the defense’s best overall efforts of the season, also had nothing but positive things to say about his former teammate.
“…That’s my boy. He played like Golden,” he said. “He made us miss him a couple times, he’s definitely a great athlete.”