There are many NFL players who starred at multiple sports in high school and college. Golden Tate, the veteran free agent wide receiver signed by the New York Giants this past March, is one of them.
At Pope John Paul II High in Hendersonville, Tennessee, Tate played football, naturally, but also played baseball and ran track. He was drafted not once — but twice — by Major League teams to play baseball. In 2007, he was selected in the 42nd round by the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Francisco Giants took him three years later in the 50th round.
Tate decided to concentrate at football at Notre Dame (where he also played baseball) and was selected in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. It was the right choice, but that doesn’t mean that Tate doesn’t miss baseball.
“I quickly realized that I can affect a football field more than a baseball diamond,” Tate said in an interview at the fourth annual Tennessean sports awards. “On the baseball field, I could maybe make a diving catch or maybe hit a home run every now or then.
“But on a football field on first, second, third, fourth down, punt return and kick return, I can make a play. I felt like I was better at football. Looking back at it, I think it worked out.”
The 30 year-old Tate, who was a guest speaker at the event, also looked back of his teenage years as a local sports star.
“For me, sports has always been my getaway,” Tate said. “I’d rather be doing sports around my buddies than doing anything else. “I guess I’m kind of addicted to sports to this day. I need something to catch my attention. I wasn’t hanging out at the Sonic after games or the skating rink in Hendersonville or the Family Fun Center. I went to go play sports.”
In closing, Tate added some advice for the young people in the audience.
“Sports is great; it’s fun, but sports will end at some point,” Tate said. “No matter how good or how bad you were it will be forgotten. But your character will always stick with you. Always be a person of high character. I think of instances in high school where I should have stood up for the kid that was being bullied. I was never bullying anyone, but I probably should have said something or done something. Be high character people. In America, we need leaders more than ever.”
Maybe this is why the Giants looked to bring Tate in this offseason. They want solid citizens and he is certainly one of those.