The news surrounding Giants camp this week is WR Golden Tate having to serve his full four-game suspension for violating the league’s PED policy.
Tate was confident that the details in his case would have the suspension exonerated, but that wasn’t the case given the league’s no tolerance mindset when it comes to PEDs. The veteran wideout explained that he let the NFL know immediately when he found out there was a banned substance in the prescription, yet that wasn’t enough to change his verdict.
“I just thought, after we looked at the facts in the situation, that the NFL would be understanding,” Tate said. “But because it’s a no-tolerance policy, they, I guess, upheld the suspension.”
But, even though the NFL didn’t want to hear his side of the story, his new head coach in Pat Shurmur is 100 percent on his side.
“I do,” Shurmur told reporters. “Absolutely. I totally believe him. He told me exactly what happened, the timeline of things, and he was very open and honest when anybody asked him any questions behind the scenes. I do believe him.”
Shurmur’s belief in Tate won’t change the NFL’s sentence, so he must go into the first four weeks of the season without the man that was brought in to replace Odell Beckham Jr. this season. However, Shurmur doesn’t seem too worried about that.
He has a next-man-up mentality and that applies to this case in his mind, too.
“With another receiver,” Shurmur said when asked how you replace a player like Tate. “That’s how we do it. It’s unfortunate, this situation. He will not be with us for a month, so we’ll fill that void with another player. It’s just that simple. It’s unfortunate. There are times when you have injuries, and you have to adjust on the fly. This is a situation where it’s a suspension, so we adjust on the fly. It is just that simple.”
Is it truly that simple, though? The Giants have already lost another expected starter in Corey Coleman to an ACL tear for the season, and Sterling Shepard’s status for Week 1 is foggy with his fractured thumb still not healed. Tate was expected to be another starter for the Giants, a player Eli Manning could trust for reliable hands and yards after the catch.
In his place would likely be Russell Shepard, who is next up on the depth chart with Cody Latimer already taking the place of Coleman. Shepard has shown spurts of being a solid receiver in his time with the Giants, including a nice slant and go for a touchdown last week against the Jets. But Shepard is no Tate, and their production can’t be counted on to be similar.
We’ll see just how simple it is for the Giants when the regular season kicks off, but until then, Tate will continue to go about his business as usual at training camp.
“He’s going to work and get his work in,” Shurmur said. “He’ll appear there with the one’s at times. We’ll just keep moving forward.”