Tate said the 20 minute meeting went a long way with him choosing to sign with the Lions. The $31 million over five years the Lions are handing Tate certainly didn’t hurt, either.
Bill Ford and Tate didn’t discuss a lot of football, according to Tate. The two talked about golf, which Tate is a huge enthusiast, and also charity work, another passion of his.
“He was just real with me,” Tate said of the conversation. “He expressed and you can tell that he wanted me to be here. For me, I want to go to a place where they accept me and want me there, so that was huge.
“One of the biggest things that stood out for me with him is, you know, the way he gives back. One of the main questions is, ‘What about the charity outreach? How do you guys give back to the city or to different foundations?’ We kind of had the same thing in mind and that’s one thing I’m looking forward to is help, helping build this city even more, getting involved in the city while I’m excelling on the football field and helping to win games.”
Tate works closely with groups that help autistic childeren and also Gilda’s Club, which is a free cancer support community for people with cancer, their families and friends.
“I work closely with autism. Coach (Charlie) Weiss, my college coach, has a daughter who is autistic and I’ve developed a passion for working with autistic kids,” Tate said. “Also, Gilda’s Club. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Gilda’s Club, it’s pretty much an organization where families who are dealing with cancer can go."
Gilda’s Club Metro Detroit opened in Royal Oak in 1998.
“We sit here now and this is just normal for us to sit here and talk, but for children it might not be as easy," Tate said. "It’s not normal for them to go to school every day and have to talk about their family member who is dealing with cancer. I feel like other kids can’t relate, so that’s a place where children and families can go and talk about their situations and, in a way, feel normal.
“I’ve developed a passion for that and am excited to hopefully bring that to Detroit and get involved in some more charities.”
The Lions are going to benefit from what Tate can do on the football field. Metro Detroit, it seems, will benefit from what he does off of it.