All good things must come to an end. This is as true in life as it is with an NFL career. In the previous year, Detroit Lions fans have seen one of their favorite players, Calvin Johnson, retire from the game; for many, it conjured up memories of Barry Sanders stepping away prematurely. With the conversation on concussions being at the forefront of many around the NFL, retirement, even at an early age, is becoming a more frequent event.
Golden Tate addressed the concussion issue during his press conference on the opening day of training camp; essentially stating his goal, now, is to play smarter, in order to preserve his health. Playing smarter does not mean being less aggressive, but protecting his most valuable asset, his head from injury.
Golden Tate with real talk on concussions. Said he thinks about his long-term health, used to think concussions were just short-term thing
— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) July 28, 2016
Overall for Tate, his goal is to leave the game on his own terms. He is not looking for an injury to cut his career shorter than he would prefer, and especially a concussion. However, because of concussions, retirement is something that he does think about often. But he would love to continue to play for many more seasons before hanging up his cleats.
#Lions Golden Tate says he wants to play as long as he possibly can. Wants to leave the game when he wants to leave.
— Paula Pasche (@paulapasche) July 28, 2016
Golden Tate says he thinks about retirement "pretty frequently."
— Justin Rogers (@Justin_Rogers) July 28, 2016
Golden Tate said in a perfect world he'd play another 8 or 9 years. #Lions
— Michael Rothstein (@mikerothstein) July 28, 2016
With the rising concern of CTE among full contact sports, specifically football, concussions are always on the mind of the players. According to USA TODAY, the NFL has reported that over the last three-year period the number of concussions has declined by 35%, and in 2015 they implemented two rule changes that went into effect immediately that season to protect against more concussions: “…an offensive player who is attempting to catch a ball that’s been intercepted will be ruled defenseless and cannot be hit in the head or neck area by the intercepting team as possession changes or a penalty will be enforced. Also, the league has given certified athletic trainers who are stationed in sky boxes at each game the authority to stop play with the touch of a button if they see a player who is exhibiting notable signs of injury, even if he was hurt in a previous play.”
Tate signed with the Lions in 2014 after being drafted by the Seattle Seahawks. Since he has been a Lion, and essentially the No. 2 receiver behind Calvin Johnson, he has caught 189 passes for 2,144 yards and 10 touchdowns. Tate is signed with the Lions through 2017. Here’s to hoping these next three years are tough, aggressive, concussion free years for Golden Tate, and the Lions.