Tate’s path, opportunity mirror that of Seahawks

Aug 13, 2013, 9:00 AM | Updated: 10:18 am

“I can’t see myself anywhere else,” says Golden Tate, who’s entering a contract year with the Seahawks. (AP)

By Danny O’Neil

RENTON – No player embodies Pete Carroll’s Seahawks more than Golden Tate, from the inconsistencies of the first two seasons to the breakthrough of 2012.

The third player chosen in Carroll’s tenure, Tate was prone to the youthful mistakes that were Seattle’s hallmark in those two 7-9 seasons to start Carroll’s run as coach. Then came 2012, a great leap forward for Tate and for his team.

Now, both Tate and the Seahawks find themselves at a crossroads that is also an opportunity. They have proven they can be good. The question is whether they can be great, and the fact that this is the final year of Tate’s rookie contract puts a clock on the situation.

“I want to prove my value,” Tate said Monday.

That’s not the only thing he wants.

“I want to be here,” Tate said. “I really love this city, everything about this city. I can’t see myself anywhere else.”

Golden Tate is coming off a career season as he enters the final year of his rookie contract.

2012 (15 games)
Catches: 45
Yards: 688
Yards per catch: 15.3
Touchdowns: 7
2011 (16 games)
Catches: 35
Yards: 382
Yards per catch: 10.9
Touchdowns: 3
2010 (11 games)
Catches: 21
Yards: 227
Yards per catch: 10.8
Touchdowns: 0

There might not be a player on this team with more at stake individually than Tate this season. That reality reflects both the money committed to Percy Harvin this offseason and the other decisions the team will face at wide receiver as Sidney Rice’s contract is scheduled to rise.

But Harvin is out the next couple of months after undergoing hip surgery, and while he was never acquired to replace Tate, Harvin’s absence figures to provide Tate with both more opportunity and more scrutiny as he will start at split end and return punts.

After blossoming into one of Seattle’s best playmakers with seven touchdown catches last year, Tate heads into this season in a situation every receiver loves: wide open.

“We love what he does,” Carroll said. “He’s such an unusual player.”

At 5 feet 11, he is Seattle’s best receiver in jump-ball situations, and somebody who has been compared to a running back the way he moves with the ball after the catch.

But then, athleticism has never been a question for Tate, who assumed he’d come to Seattle as a second-round pick and be able to do what he had always done first in high school and later in his three years at Notre Dame.

“I’ll run around, I’ll jump around,” Tate said, recalling his mindset as a rookie. “I’ll just out-athlete people and make plays.”

It takes more than ability in a league populated by some of the country’s most athletic human beings. Tate learned that quickly as he was left off the active roster for his first regular-season game in 2010. He caught more than four passes in a game only once in his first season and a half as a Seahawk.

If Tate could turn back the clock and give himself advice as a rookie, what would it be?

“You’ve actually got to put in the work,” he said, “and that’s when you’ll see the difference.”

You certainly have witnessed the results with Tate, who not only caught 45 passes last season, but more tellingly, the guy who once struggled with the precision of his routes has become one of the team’s most dependable targets.

“He’s the highest tester in terms of assignments,” Carroll said.

That explains how he’s come this far with the Seahawks. The question now is how far he’ll go with the Seahawks.

“Hopefully, the best is yet to come,” Tate said.

It’s a statement that holds true for the team, too, and in that way Tate may once again serve as a weather vane for Seattle’s fortunes. It is no coincidence that Tate came into his own the year Seattle established itself as a bona fide contender.

Now, the question is about staying power both for Tate and this team.

Brock and Salk podcast

Brock and Salk

Mariners Dipoto Servais...
Brent Stecker

Mariners’ Dipoto explains how their future impacts approach to payroll

If the Mariners are a "draft, develop and trade" team, what does that mean for signing free agents to big deals? Jerry Dipoto went in-depth on that Thursday on Seattle Sports.
20 hours ago
Seattle Kraken Oliver Bjorkstrand Ryan Donato...
Brent Stecker

Why are Kraken surging this season? What broadcaster Forslund sees

Kraken play-by-play announcer John Forslund joined Brock and Salk to talk about the differences between surging Seattle now and last season.
2 days ago
Seahawks Tariq Woolen...
Brent Stecker

NFL Draft insider on why ’22 Seahawks class hit, possible ’23 targets

Seattle Sports' Brock and Salk caught up with ESPN NFL Draft analyst and insider Matt Miller to get his read on the Seahawks' rookies and what they could do in the 2023 draft.
2 days ago
Seahawks Broncos Russell Wilson...
Brent Stecker

Just how high will Seahawks’ pick from Wilson trade to Broncos get?

Brandon Stokley, a former star NFL receiver and current Denver radio host, shares his thoughts on where the Seahawks' top pick coming from the Broncos will land.
3 days ago
UW Huskies Michael Penix Jr...
Brandon Gustafson

What does the future hold for UW Huskies QB Michael Penix Jr.?

Should star UW Huskies QB Michael Penix Jr. go pro or return to Washington in 2023? Brock Huard and Mike Salk have very different opinions.
4 days ago
Seahawks Pete Carroll...
Brandon Gustafson

Pete Carroll Show Takeaways: Areas where Seahawks must get better

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll broke down Seattle's OT loss to Vegas on Seattle Sports, including recent struggles at the line of scrimmage.
4 days ago
Tate’s path, opportunity mirror that of Seahawks