Golden Tate has spent nine seasons in the NFL, but he's only twice been the new guy in the locker room. Tate was a rookie in Seattle in 2010 and a free agent addition in Detroit in 2014, so he's been with familiar faces for much of his career. Now, as a 30-year-old, Tate is in a position usually reserved for waiver-wire journeymen – he's joining a new team in the middle of the season, shaking hands and trying to remember names.
His first day with his new teammates came on Monday, when the Eagles returned to the NovaCare Complex for a walk-through and meetings after their bye week.
"It was a little different," Tate said by his new locker stall in his new locker room. "Walking in, there are some faces I played with over the years. Just trying to introduce myself, not even really expecting to remember people's names, but just doing it so they have a feel for me and try to show my personality any way I can. Because, again, we're halfway through the season. I've got to go do what I can to build the camaraderie, get a feel for the guys, let them get the feel for the player I am, the person I am. And it's important to me. So I'm trying to balance it all. It's like being back in college trying to balance being a football player with going to school and having a social life."
Tate admitted he has little time for a social life right now. In fact, quarterback Carson Wentz invited Tate and his wife to church on Sunday. That was important to the Tates, but only his wife went. Tate was at the team facility on Sunday trying to learn his new playbook. (Wentz, by the way, was one of the first players to text message Tate after the trade.)
Tate's been at the NovaCare Complex since Friday for a crash course in his new offense. There's some background from previous systems in which he's played, but the language is different. So are the signals. He's relying on new teammates who know the offense. And it was nice to finally spend time with them on Monday.
"I've been in the playbook trying to learn as quick as I possibly can, today was kind of like Christmas," Tate said. "I got to come in here, meet some of the guys, see people, see the flow of things. It's been fun. Not too overwhelming – yet."
Offensive coordinator Mike Groh said the Eagles are "jumping in the pool with both feet" with Tate, relying on his experience to allow for a quick acclimation. The coaching staff watched Tate's film from the "last several years," Groh said, so they can familiarize themselves with what Tate does well. That's where the bulk of his early usage will come, so look for the Eagles to incorporate Tate in the short passing game and take advantage of his run-after-catch ability.
"He's extremely competitive, and he's got excellent play strength, and I think we all know and are aware of his statistics after he gets the ball in his hands," Groh said. "We're excited about that dimension that he brings. But he's a really competitive guy and I think that he fits nicely and complements the guys that we already have in the huddle."
It would seem that Tate's addition could affect Nelson Agholor, who had been the Eagles' slot receiver and the player most used in the short passing game. But if you expected a negative reaction from Agholor, think again. Agholor welcomed the addition of Tate, noting defenses will have to respect the Eagles even more and "it's going to be a positive for our whole group and the team." Agholor said it doesn't take away from his ability, and versatility is an asset for the offense. Tate will help the offense stay on the field, Agholor reasoned, and that means more opportunities for everyone – Agholor included.
"Winning is important," Agholor said. "If he's going to help us win football games, which he believe I will, that's important to me."
Tate, who had a season-high eight catches for 132 yards and two touchdowns against Dallas on Sept. 30, already has notes for how to attack the Cowboys secondary. That will be Tate's first opponent with the Eagles. He's heard about the Eagles-Cowboys rivalry on social media during the past few days. It could make for a good introduction to Eagles fans this weekend. But his focus until then is learning the new offense – and his new teammates.
"I don't have anything to do," Tate said, "so I'm going to spend a lot of time in this place and try to fit right in."
The Eagles claimed cornerback Cre'von LeBlanc off waivers from the Detroit Lions on Monday and waived cornerback Dexter McDougle. LeBlanc, 24, has 10 career starts. He spent 2016 and 2017 with the Chicago Bears before joining the Lions earlier this season. LeBlanc came into the NFL as an undrafted rookie with the New England Patriots in 2016 out of Florida Atlantic. McDougle had played slot cornerback the past two games after Sidney Jones' hamstring injury. … The Eagles' game against the New Orleans Saints on Nov. 18 has been moved from 1 to 4:25 p.m. It will remain on Fox. The Saints are 7-1 and have won seven consecutive games, including a victory over the then-undefeated Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. The matchup is one of the premier games on the Week 11 schedule.
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