By: Will Burchfield
Golden Tate knows all about the Seahawks’ defense. Name one of its standouts, and Tate likely played with him in Seattle.
“They have a bunch of great leaders, great athletes. They’ve been there, they’ve won Super Bowls, they’ve been to the playoffs,” he said. “That’s what they’re used to.
“But as far as intimidation, I’m not really intimidated. Maybe it’s because I know those guys personally on a deeper level.”
The Seahawks’ defensive renaissance begin in 2011, fueled by the trash-talking, heavy-hitting Legion of Boom. It remains the lynchpin of Seattle’s defense today, even if one of its original members (Brandon Browner) has moved on and another (Earl Thomas) is out for the season.
Part of that unit’s success stems from its brash confidence, its take-no-prisoners persona. The collective presence of guys like Richard Sherman and Cam Chancellor – not to mention linebackers K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner – can make some offensive players wilt before taking a snap.
But Tate played with those guys. He preceded most of them. In his eyes, they aren’t so much fearsome enemies as they are friendly foe.
“I can definitely see some chatter going on between me and a few of the guys,” he said. “Nothing malicious, more of it just being competitive men in a big game, kind of just having fun.”
Tate broke into the NFL with the Seahawks in 2010. Despite playing a major role in their first ever Super Bowl triumph in 2013, he was made a lowball offer as a free agent in the ensuing offseason and ended up signing with the Lions instead.
Tate’s happy with how things have worked out since, but, at the time, there’s no doubt he felt spurned by Seattle’s organization and betrayed by some of its fans — feelings that simmer as much as they subside. He’ll have a chance to settle the score on Saturday.
“Personally, I do want to win this game a little bit more,” Tate said. “But I’m not letting that take my emotions too high or too low. I’m just going to go out there and play good, fundamentally sound football and try to win.”
“It’s deeper than me,” he added. “I want to win because I think this organization deserves a win. I think we’ve earned our right into the playoffs, we’ve had a great week of practice and it’s time to win.
“But I’d be lying if I said personally I don’t want to win as much.”
Sherman, Chancellor and Co. will do everything they can to stop him, but Tate’s lack of fear could be their Kyrptonite.