Eli Manning has some big shoes to fill.
Despite his disappointing departure from Detroit, Giants wide receiver Golden Tate appreciates the growth he took away from the Lions and still thinks highly of his former team, particularly Matthew Stafford.
“Stafford’s been the best quarterback I’ve played with,” Tate told ClickOnDetroit.com. “The guy can flat out play, he’s tough, and his attitude is amazing and he just wants to play ball. For me, I have nothing but praises for him.”
Unfortunately for Stafford, the Lions haven’t made it past the wild-card round of the playoffs since 1991.
“It’s almost unfair that he’s such a good player and doesn’t have playoffs or a ring to show for it,” Tate said. “That kind of hurts my heart that I wasn’t able to help change that. I think over his career, if you put him in another organization, maybe things are different. I don’t know. I played with some guys over my years that I’ve won playoff games with that I don’t think are as good.”
Stafford managed to start all 16 of the Lions’ games in 2018 even though he was dealing with what was reported as “tiny fractures” in his back. He completed 66.1% of his passes for a career-low 3,777 total passing yards and 21 touchdowns but extended his consecutive start streak to 128 — the sixth-longest streak in NFL history.
Tate, initially a second-round selection of the Seahawks in 2010 before moving on to Detroit in 2014, signed a four-year deal with the Giants in March after catching 74 passes for 795 yards and four touchdowns with the Lions and Eagles last season. Philadelphia had acquired him from Detroit at the trade deadline.
But he’s already looking forward to being back in Detroit in October when the Giants visit the Lions.
“Detroit will always have a place in my heart and I’ll always root for Detroit, except for when they’re playing the Giants now,” Tate said. “I’ll miss that place.
“I think they’re trending up. I’m excited to see what they do in the future.”