RENTON, Wash. – Since he first arrived in Seattle, Golden Tate has made it a point to watch the Seahawks raise a ceremonial flag in honor of their fans before every home game.
It nearly led to an embarrassing gaffe the last time out for the Seahawks.
When Seattle played Philadelphia on Dec. 1, the timing of the pregame ceremony was off. So while Tate was watching basketball Hall of Famer Bill Russell raise the flag, his offense was on the field wondering where Tate was.
“I did a double (take) and I saw (Tarvaris Jackson) on the field and had to sprint on. It messed me up, man,” Tate said.
Tate got some good-natured ribbing from coach Pete Carroll for his near mistake, but he made up for it later in Seattle’s 31-14 win over Philadelphia with a dazzling touchdown grab along the back edge of the end zone. It was Tate’s second straight game with a TD and came on a night he was introduced as a starter at home.
Consider it another step in the turnaround of Tate, who just a few months ago was considered to be on the edge of getting cut when the Seahawks concluded training camp. Now because of an injury to Sidney Rice and Mike Williams’ slumping production, Tate is getting his chance to show the potential that made him a second-round pick in 2010 out of Notre Dame.
“I always knew I could be the player that I’m becoming, and better,” Tate said. “I kind of didn’t know what to expect coming into this year, other than I would have a year of NFL football under my belt, and kind of understand what was going on in the locker room or at practice. But as far as playing time, I didn’t know how that was going to work out.”
Tate’s problem since he was drafted was consistency. He’d be dazzling one moment, then drop the simplest of passes the next and his practice performances were shaky.
Carroll’s belief was that things came so easy for Tate that his natural athleticism in high school and college made up for other deficiencies. When he got to the Seahawks, those things Tate was lacking became apparent.
“It took us a little longer to get him to emerge. He needed to take a few steps back to move forward,” Carroll said. “I love him and I have been hard on him. I’m always on his butt about something. But however he takes it is OK, it doesn’t matter.
“But it’s because he’s really good and he’s going to be a really good player for us. I’m just trying to get it to come to the surface.”
Tate has made nine catches for 124 yards and two touchdowns in the last four games. And while that’s not an eye-popping total, that is nearly half the catches and more than half the yards Tate had in the first eight games of the season.