RENTON, Wash. — Golden Tate has a picture of his now infamous game-winning touchdown last September against Green Bay with a unique signature attached.
The picture is signed by Green Bay defensive back M.D. Jennings with a special message added: “Robbed.”
“I think it’s funny, almost a year later, people are still talking about it,” Tate said. “It is what it is. I guess I’m in the record books for that play.”
Tate will get a firsthand feel for just where he stands with Green Bay’s faithful on Friday night when the Seahawks face the Packers at Lambeau Field. It could be the most hostile territory he’s ever entered in his NFL career — and for a preseason game no less.
But after what took place in Week 3 last season in Seattle, this isn’t just an ordinary preseason game between the Packers and Seahawks. In the eyes of Packers fans, Tate ranks among the most villainous players in the NFL.
“It’s been pretty entertaining to read up on the stuff. I’m not letting it bother me any. Still showing up and practicing hard,” Tate said. “What they say on Twitter or in Wisconsin doesn’t affect me. I’m just going day by day.”
Tate’s disputed touchdown reception on the final play of last season’s 14-12 win over the Packers is likely to be replayed endlessly this week. It’s a play that will forever be remembered as the tipping point in helping get the replacement referees pushed aside and getting the NFL’s regular refs back on the field.
Whether it was or wasn’t a touchdown is no longer debatable on the field. Side judge Lance Easley called it a touchdown, citing simultaneous possession with Jennings, while back judge Derrick Rhone-Dunn waved his arms to stop the clock. Referee Wayne Elliott announced the play would be reviewed and after coming out from under the hood, said the ruling on the field of a touchdown stood.
Tate’s only crime was getting away with a blatant offensive pass interference shove on Green Bay’s Sam Shields, and then jumping with four other Packers to try to make a play on the final heave of the game.
Asked Tuesday if he views the play as a highlight, Tate said he does.
“I don’t look at it that way but if I had to I would definitely see that was a game-winning touchdown right there. I don’t care what you think or what they think, if it was a catch or no catch, it is what it is,” Tate said. “The referee called a touchdown. I did my job, point blank, end of story. I see it as a highlight. It was a big play in a critical moment and helped us win the game.”
Still days from Friday’s game, Tate’s Twitter account has been filled with messages from Packers fans. Instead of fighting back against the messages, Tate has tried to make light of the situation, hoping to soften the tenor from what was sent his way after the catch.
Two days after the play, Tate said he was ripped on social media, saying, “If I mentioned those words it would be bleeps, bleeps, bleeps. Some nasty stuff. It’s mean.”
Now the words aren’t so harsh, although Tate didn’t help things when he was photographed with Easley during teammate Richard Sherman’s charity softball game in July.
“I’m a fun guy. I’m not going to take myself too seriously,” Tate said. “At first when I dealt with this, it was frustrating to hear all the hate from their fans but now it is what it is, the play happened, the referee called a touchdown and I couldn’t help that call. What else can I do other than have fun with it, don’t take it too seriously and not let it hurt my feelings.”
Tate is certain he won’t be taking part in a “Lambeau Leap” should he find his way into the end zone on Friday night. But if he scores, there might be a little something planned.
“We’ll see. We’ll have a little fun with it, keep it within the rules,” Tate said. “I don’t want to have to deal with a fat fine for spiking the ball or something.
Notes: TE Zach Miller (foot) practiced for the first time during training camp on Tuesday. Miller said the problem was a one-time thing in his left foot. He had torn the fascia in the foot during Seattle’s playoff loss to Atlanta in January. ... DT Jordan Hill, competing for a starting spot on the defensive line, suffered an arm injury during practice. Coach Pete Carroll was unsure of the severity. ... RB Christine Michael (back), DE Cliff Avril (hamstring) and DT Tony McDaniel (groin) all practiced Tuesday.